Hearts Unbroken: Writing Teen Love, Romance, Passion!

Inspirational HS relationship.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

The fourth in a series of four posts celebrating the Oct. 9 release of my realistic contemporary YA novel, Hearts Unbroken (Candlewick). Spoiler alert.

Let’s talk about teen love, romance, passion!

Which of course means talking about awkwardness, three-dimensionality, and emotional resonance.

My new YA novel, Hearts Unbroken (Candlewick,

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Cynsations Intern: Kate Pentecost

Learn more about Kate Pentecost.

By Kate Petecost

“So, wait, you’ve been doing this for how long?” People often ask when I tell them how long I’ve been writing.

“Since the fourth grade,” is the answer. That was the grade in which I learned that I wanted to be a writer—specifically a writer for children.

I learned then that there was nothing that felt better to me than being around children’s books.

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Guest Post: Yolanda Ridge on Writing Across Gender & Inside Hudson Pickle

Yolanda Ridge and her sons

By Yolanda Ridge 

When my stepdad finished reading my debut novel, Trouble in the Trees (Orca Book Publishers, 2011), he told me he enjoyed learning about my childhood.

(He also proudly proclaimed to have read it in two straight hours – a compliment that missed the mark since it had taken me over a year to write the book – but that’s a different post.)

The main character is nothing like me,

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Author Interview: Courtney Stevens on Faith in Lit & Life

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today we welcome author Courtney Stevens to discuss her upcoming YA novel, Dress Codes for Small Towns (Harper Teen, August 22, 2017). From the promotional copy:

The year I was seventeen, I had five best friends…and I was in love with all of them for different reasons.


Billie McCaffrey is always starting things.

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Guest Post: Writing Across Gender Lines: Fiction that Appeals to Boys and Girls

By Yona Zeldis McDonough

I’ve alway thought of myself as a girly-girl writer. Although I’ve written bios for kids that appeal to both boys and girls—many of them in the popular Who Was series (Grosset & Dunlap) —my real love is girl-friendly stories. I like dolls—no fewer than five of my children’s books have had the words doll or doll house in the title—and all the girly stuff that goes with them.

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Summer Girls & Women in Children’s-YA Lit Roundup

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

How “Girl Books” Could Save the World (Or at Least Help Out) by Jen Malone
from Nerdy Book Club. Peek: “Guess who’s not being exposed to these main characters? Boys. That’s a problem, because their female counterparts are only too happy to read books featuring male central characters, meaning those girls’ empathy for and understanding of the opposite gender grows,

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Summer Children’s-YA Lit Diversity Conversations

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Over the summer, the children’s-YA book community has continued discussing diversity, decolonization, authenticity and representation both throughout the body of literature and the industry. Here are highlights; look for more in quickly upcoming, additional update posts.

Mirrors? Windows? How about Prisms? from Uma Krishnaswami. Peek: “…cultural content in children’s books needs to be woven into the story so the authors intention is not stamped all over it.”

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Author Interview: Heather Lang on Fearless Flyer & Writing Strong Women

Visit Heather Lang’s official author site & @Hblang

By Helen Kampion

Congratulations on your new picture book biography Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine (Calkins Creek, 2016) and the starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal! 

I was captivated by your account of Ruth Law’s record-breaking flight from Chicago to New York City one hundred years ago,

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