Author-Illustrator Interview: Evan Turk

By Traci Sorell

Getting a sneak peek at a beautiful picture book before it’s printed always brings me joy. When the book combines poetry and breathtaking images, my joy increases and my heart sings.

That’s what happened when I saw Evan Turk’s You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks (Atheneum, 2019).

I’m in complete agreement with its five starred reviews from Booklist,

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Author-Illustrator Interview: Carolyn Dee Flores on Inspiration, Translation & Dedication

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Carolyn Dee Flores is the author-illustrator of nearly a dozen books. Her latest, The Amazing Watercolor Fish (Arte Publico, 2018), has the unique distinction of rhyming in both Spanish and English. I’m very excited to share Carolyn’s insights with Cynsations readers!

What was your initial inspiration for writing The Amazing Watercolor Fish?

The initial idea came about ten years ago when I saw a little aquarium with two Beta fish in it.

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Survivors: Pat Cummings on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s Author-Illustrator

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Pat Cummings is a successful children’s author-illustrator with a long, distinguished career.

In children’s-YA writing and illustration, maintaining an active publishing career is arguably an even bigger challenge than breaking into the field.

Reflecting on your personal journey (creatively, career-wise, and your writer-artist’s heart), what bumps did you encounter and how have you managed to defy the odds to achieve continued success? 

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Survivors: Leslie Helakoski on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s Author-Illustrator

Learn more about Leslie Helakoski; pictured here at the ALA Conference.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

In children’s-YA writing, maintaining an active publishing career is arguably an even bigger challenge than breaking into the field.

Reflecting on your personal journey (creatively, career-wise, and your writer’s heart), what bumps did you encounter and how have you managed to defy the odds to achieve continued success? 

Continue Reading Survivors: Leslie Helakoski on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s Author-Illustrator »

New Voices/New Visions: Author-Illustrators Elizabeth Lilly & Shanda McCloskey Share Their Artistic Journeys

Author-illustrators Elizabeth Lilly and Shanda McCloskey

By Traci Sorell

Today we welcome two of my fellow Epic Eighteen creators, Elizabeth Lilly, author-illustrator of Geraldine (Roaring Brook, 2018) and Shanda McCloskey, author-illustrator of Doll-E 1.0 (Little, Brown, May 2018).

Both Shanda and Elizabeth devoted time and effort to developing their skills before landing their first book contracts.

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New Voice: Sarah Lynne Reul on The Breaking News

By Traci Sorell

I’m always amazed by those creators who can both write and illustrate their stories. Okay, I’ll admit a little jealous too. My talents do not lend themselves to do both.

 So shining the Cynsations’ spotlight today on Sarah Lynne Reul is a treat.

She shares about how she creates her art and why she ultimately decided to become a children’s book author-illustrator instead of focusing solely on illustration. 

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New Voice: Interview & Giveaway: Daria Peoples-Riley on This Is It, Illustration & Diversity

By Traci Sorell

To say that I’m thrilled to feature Daria Peoples-Riley, fellow Epic Eighteen member, today on Cynsations is an understatement.

This Is It (Greenwillow, 2018), her debut picture book as an author-illustrator, follows a young girl of color getting ready for a ballet audition. Although she loves to dance, she doubts herself as she approaches the studio.

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New Voice: Interview & Giveaway: Dana Wulfekotte on Rabbit & Possum

By Traci Sorell

Today I’m pleased to shine the Cynsations’ spotlight on Dana Wulfekotte, a fellow Epic Eighteen member. Her debut picture book, Rabbit & Possum (Greenwillow, 2018), features the antics of these two friends hoping to share a snack but having to overcome an obstacle first.

I love Dana’s use of illustrated thought bubbles and her experience as an animator comes through in the book’s artwork. Continue Reading New Voice: Interview & Giveaway: Dana Wulfekotte on Rabbit & Possum »

New Voice: Interview & Giveaway: Jeanette Bradley on Love, Mama

By Traci Sorell

I am pleased to shine the spotlight on a fellow Epic Eighteen debut picture book, Love, Mama by author-illustrator Jeanette Bradley (Roaring Brook, 2018). From the promotional copy:

When Mama leaves her young penguin Kipling, he knows she’ll return home soon—yet he still can’t help but miss her. 


After all,

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Guest Post: Beth Bacon on Honoring Reluctant Readers with Author & Illustrator Charles Johnson

By Beth Bacon

This post is the first in a series honoring reluctant readers.

Reading is the closest thing we have to magic in the real world.

Is there any other explanation for the way those small, squiggly symbols on the page transform into meaning in our minds?

Scientists can provide technical explanations of the way our eyes and brains make reading happen.

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