Author Interview: Cate Berry on Making Connections

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today we’re chatting with Austin author and Vermont College MFA alumnx Cate Berry about her new picture book Chicken Break, illustrated by Charlotte Alder (Feiwel & Friends, 2019) and her creative marketing efforts to promote the book.

Congratulations on the release of Chicken Break! It’s an adorable bedtime counting book. Before we talk about all your eggscelent marketing efforts,

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Author Interview: Bethany Hegedus on Crafting Picture Book Biographies With Heart

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Bethany Hegedus is an award-winning writer and a tireless champion of encouraging others to push beyond their fear and obstacles. I’m very excited to share Bethany’s insight on tackling tough subjects and writing from the heart with Cynsations readers!

Her newest book, Rise: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou, illustrated by Tonya Engel (Lee &

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Author Interview: Samantha M. Clark on Being a SCBWI Regional Advisor & the Austin Chapter

Learn more about Samantha M. Clark,
photo by Sam Bond.

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today we take a peek behind the curtain at the planning and preparation required to organize a successful Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators chapter.

I chatted with Austin’s Regional Advisor, Samantha M. Clark to get the inside scoop.

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Author Interview: Bethany Hegedus on Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Just about a year ago, I became a Writing Barn Fellow, which means I serve as a teaching assistant and provide logistical support for classes and workshops.

It also means that I’ve gotten to know author Bethany Hegedus better and I couldn’t pass up the chance to interview her about her new picture book biography, Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird, Continue Reading Author Interview: Bethany Hegedus on Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird »

Guest Post: Bethany Hegedus on Writer Mama Survival Guide

By Bethany Hegedus

There are craft books on writing and parenting books galore, but nothing on how to be a “Writer Mama.”

I’ve watched many friends make the transition, somehow blurry-eyed making it to the page in between breast feeding and diaper changes. 

I’ve witnessed my friends with kids in elementary school put in longer hours, taking their laptops with them to doctor appointments and school pick-ups. Continue Reading Guest Post: Bethany Hegedus on Writer Mama Survival Guide »

Interview: Lee & Low New Voices Award Winners

Roberto Penas

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Lee & Low Books recently announced Roberto Penas of Olathe, Kansas won the 17th annual New Voices Award.


His manuscript, “Pedro Flores: The Toymaker,” is a biography of the inventor of the modern yo-yo.


In the early 1900s, Flores emigrated from the Philippines to the United States,

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In Memory: Josanne La Valley

Compiled by Gayleen Rabakukk

Josanne La Valley obituary from The New York Times.

Peek: “Josanne received degrees from St. Lawrence University, Smith College and Vermont College of Fine Arts. She worked in arts management and as a professional musician before she turned to writing.”

A few members of the children’s literature community shared their thoughts about Josanne.

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