SCBWI Initiative: Lin Oliver on Books For Readers

By Gayleen Rabakukk

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators recently announced a new initiative: Books for Readers. To learn how this program would get books into the hands of more young readers, I interviewed SCBWI’s Executive Director Lin Oliver.

So, each region will be nominating an organization, and then the SCBWI Board of Advisors and staff will pick one or two organizations that will receive the books,

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Author Interview: P.J. Hoover on Creating Promotional Tie-In Extras For Your Book

By Gayleen Rabakukk

When I first read P.J. Hoover‘s Cynsations post that mentioned video games related to Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life (Starscape, 2014), I thought, “She’s an electrical engineer. That’s not something someone like me could actually do.”

Still, it’s  a very intriguing idea.

We hear all the time about kids playing video games instead of reading books.

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In Memory: Tom Shefelman

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Austin architect contributed modernist buildings to city’s landscape by Michael Barnes from The Austin American Statesman. Peek:

Thomas ‘Tom’ Shefelman, who helped design several of Austin’s outstanding modernist buildings…. Seattle-born Shefelman, a graduate of the University of Texas School of Architecture and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, also illustrated children’s books and painted watercolor scenes from his travels,

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Guest Post: Brian Anderson Collaborating with His Daughter Amy on Space Dictionary for Kids

By Brian Anderson

Have you ever wondered why the spacecraft that carried the first U.S. astronaut into space in 1961 was named the Freedom 7? Was George Lucas already planning six prequels, or what?

When my daughter Amy turned 21 years old in July 2014, she was doing summer research in astrophysics at Baylor University. Her birthday coincided with a stargazing party at Meyer Observatory,

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New Voice & Giveaway: Donna Janell Bowman on Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Donna Janell Bowman is the first-time author of Step Right Up:  How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness, illustrated by Daniel Minter (Lee & Low, 2016). From the promotional copy:

A Horse that can read, write, and do math?

Ridiculous! 

That’s what people thought until former slave and self-taught veterinarian Dr.

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Book Trailer: Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Check out the book trailer for Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker (Feiwel & Friends, 2016). From the promotional copy:

High school meets classic horror in Teen Frankenstein, Chandler Baker’s modern re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s gothic novel.



It was a dark and stormy night when Tor Frankenstein accidentally hits someone with her car.

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Guest Post: Lindsey Lane on Turning The Bright Idea Of Creating A Legacy Award Into A Reality

Betty with the 2016 award recipients

By Lindsey Lane

Bright ideas are wonderful things. They spark imagination, energy, and excitement. That’s good, right?

Executing ideas and fulfilling their promise takes a lot of hard work. The more excitement the better because, along the way, you will learn a lot and some of that knowledge will be hard won.

In 2012, I had a bright idea to create an award in honor of the oldest member of Austin SCBWI community: Betty X.

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New Voice & Giveaway: Paige Britt on The Lost Track of Time

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Paige Britt
is the first-time author of The Lost Track of Time, illustrated by Lee White
(Scholastic, 2015). From the promotional copy:


A magical fantasy, an allegorical cautionary tale, a feast of language, a celebration of creativity–this dazzling debut novel is poised to become a story for the ages.

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Austin SCBWI Mentor Award Winner Laney Nielson Signs with Greenburger Associates

Follow @LaneyNielson

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Hooray! Laney Nielson, recipient of the 2014 Austin SCBWI Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award, has signed with literary agent Bethany Buck of Greenburger Associates.

Laney Nielson is a writer who lives in Plano, Texas.

A former upper elementary school teacher, Laney has taught in both suburban Virginia and inner city Boston.

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A Novel Writing Workshop with D. Anne Love

Author D. Anne Love will lead an Austin SCBWI novel writing workshop on March 24.

“D. Anne Love shares her secrets for writing great plots, compelling characters, and dialogue that will keep your readers wanting more. Toss in a few wrting exercises for creativity and time for quesitons and answers and you’ll leave the workshop with plenty of ideas for finishing your novel and getting it pulblished.

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