cynsations

New Voices: Adalyn Grace & Rabiah York Lumbard on Character, Career & Connection

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Today I am pleased to introduce YA debut authors Adalyn Grace and Rabiah York Lumard to our Cynsations readers. Both of these authors talk about the importance that their main characters’ identities bring to their work, their transitions to writing as a career, as well as connection to community.

Adalyn Grace

What was your initial inspiration for writing this book?

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Children’s-YA Book Community Strategies for Sharing While Social Distancing

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Closed. Canceled. Rescheduled. These are words we are hearing over and over.

As COVID-19 spreads, life is changing each day. With so many closures and cancellations, many within the children’s-YA book community are finding ways to use technology to bring people together, sharing their love of books without sharing the germs.

Lauren Tarshis is a children’s author and editor of Scholastic’s Storyworks magazine.

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Cynsational News

By Cynthia Leitich SmithGail VannelliGayleen Rabukukk, and Stephani Eaton for Cynsations

Author/Illustrator Insights

Conversation with the Creators Behind “Layla’s Happiness” by Nadine Pinede from Enchanted Lion Books. Peek: Ashleigh Corrin: “Tap into your personal story and find value in your own insight and perspective on life and the art you’re making. This will help you define a unique identity within your work that will set you apart.

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Guest Interview: Librarians Kerensa Williams & Rita Painter Discuss Spooky Stories

By Cory Putman Oakes

Today is the last day of my Cynsations Spooky Middle Grade Takeover! I thought I’d go out with a bang and give you a double-librarian interview.

Since a lot of spooky middle grade books tread that fine line between upper elementary and lower middle school age, let’s hear from professionals for both age groups.

Welcome, Kealing Middle School librarian Kerensa Williams and Menchaca Elementary School librarian Rita Painter.

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Guest Interview: Adrianna Cuevas on Spooky Stories Inspired by Folklore

By Cory Putman Oakes

Welcome to Day 3 of my Cynsations Spooky Middle Grade Takeover!

Today’s post is an author interview with fellow spooky middle grade writer, Adrianna Cuevas. Adrianna’s debut novel, The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez (FSG), comes out May 12. It’s now available for preorder. I’m so happy she agreed to geek out with me over our mutual love of spooky stories.

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Guest Interview: Illustrator Jane Pica on Drawing Spooky Stories

By Cory Putman Oakes

It’s Day 2 of my Cynsations spooky middle grade takeover!

Today’s post is an interview with Jane Pica, the illustrator for The Second Best Haunted Hotel on Mercer Street (Amulet, Aug. 18, 2020). She is responsible for the gorgeous cover and the interior illustrations.

This is the first book I’ve ever done that was partially illustrated–having an illustrator on the team was an amazing experience.

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Guest Post: Cory Putman Oakes on Writing Spooky Middle Grade Books

By Cory Putman Oakes

My next book, The Second Best Haunted Hotel on Mercer Street, is coming out from Abrams/Amulet on Aug. 18 and is now available for preorder. To celebrate, I’m taking over Cynsations this week to talk about spooky middle grade!

Today’s post is on craft. I reflect on where I got the initial idea for the The Second Best Haunted Hotel on Mercer Street and the long road to actually writing it.

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Cynsational News

By Cynthia Leitich SmithGail VannelliGayleen Rabukukk, and Stephani Eaton for Cynsations

Author/Illustrator Insights

Group Interview: The Sowing Circle Sisterhood by Elizabeth Bird from School Library Journal. Peek: Kelly Starling Lyons: “My writing powers are fueled by imagination, memory, wondering and connection. A news article online may pique my interest…Or maybe it’s a visit to a museum where I see a piece of history I didn’t know… Sometimes I feel the ancestors leading me to remember,

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In Memory: Susan Jeffers

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Susan Jeffers died January 22 at the age of 77.

Her book Three Jovial Huntsmen (Bradbury, 1973) received Caldecott Honors in 1974.

Jeffers studied art at the Pratt Institute, then worked in the children’s art department at three different publishing houses.

Working on other illustrators’ books inspired her to create her own. “…in 1968, Jeffers began an art studio with fellow illustrator Rosemary Wells,

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Heart and Spirit: An Interview with Lisa Jenn Bigelow

By Carol Coven Grannick

As an author, poet, and chronicler—and clinical social worker—my writing tends to explore social-emotional learning (SEL). While I deeply value the STEM and STEAM frameworks (and poetry and stories!) my own commitment and abilities lean toward creating work that handles issues that promote and build on SEL, without which STEM and STEAM learning cannot thrive.

I love exploring writers’ and illustrators’ inner lives—what builds and maintains emotional resilience?

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