Survivors: April Pulley Sayre on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s Author-Illustrator

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

April Pulley Sayre is a successful children’s author-illustrator with a long, distinguished career.

In children’s 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: April Pulley Sayre on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s Author-Illustrator »

Native Vision: Weshoyot Alvitre on Illustrating At The Mountain’s Base

By Kim Rogers

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Weshoyot Alvitre to Cynsations.

At the Mountain’s Base (Kokila, 2019) is illustrated by Weshoyot and written by Cherokee author Traci Sorell.

Weshoyot is Tongva (Los Angeles Basin) and is well established within the Indigenous art community.

A comic book artist and illustrator, she has contributed to numerous Eisner award-winning books,

Continue Reading Native Vision: Weshoyot Alvitre on Illustrating At The Mountain’s Base »

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.

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

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? 

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

Native Author-Illustrator Interview: Jonathan Nelson

By Traci Sorell

for Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

Today we welcome Diné (Navajo) artist Jonathan Nelson to discuss his journey as an illustrator and his recently published debut picture book.

Johnny, your Wool of Jonesy (Native Realities, 2016), a wordless graphic novel won the American Indian Library’s Association Middle Grade Honor Book Award earlier this year.  Continue Reading Native Author-Illustrator Interview: Jonathan Nelson »

Guest Interview: Dana Carey & SCBWI Bologna Illustration Gallery Judges

By Dana Carey
for SCBWI Bologna 2018 and Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

Note: This interview is the second in a series focusing on the Bologna Children’s Book Fair


SCBWI International Illustrator Coordinator Dana Carey talks with those who judged the Bologna Illustration Gallery

What was the first thing you looked for while judging the illustrations for the shortlist? 

Continue Reading Guest Interview: Dana Carey & SCBWI Bologna Illustration Gallery Judges »

Guest Interview: Dina von Lowenkraft & SCBWI Bologna Illustration Gallery Winners 2018

By Dina von Lowenkraft
for SCBWI Bologna 2018 and Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

Note: This is the first in a series of interviews focusing on the Bologna Children’s Book Fair


SCBWI Belgium + Luxembourg Regional Advisor Dina von Lowenkraft talks with the winners of the Bologna Showcase: 

Continue Reading Guest Interview: Dina von Lowenkraft & SCBWI Bologna Illustration Gallery Winners 2018 »

Author & Editor Interview: Jessica Lee Anderson, Madeline Smoot on Uncertain Summer

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’ve always had a fascination with Bigfoot; the idea that an ape/human creature could be secretly living in the woods both intrigued and terrified me as a child.

So when I got the opportunity to chat with the author and editor of Uncertain Summer by Jessica Lee Anderson (CBAY, 2017), I couldn’t pass it up. First, the promotional copy:

For decades something has lurked in the swampy lakes of East Texas. Continue Reading Author & Editor Interview: Jessica Lee Anderson, Madeline Smoot on Uncertain Summer »

Cover Reveal: Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime


By Gayleen Rabakukk

Debut author Cate Berry interviews illustrator Charles Santoso about Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime! (Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins, May 2018)

Cate: Hi, Charles! I’m here with Penguin and Tiny Shrimp to talk about—

Penguin: Hey, Charles! Love the cover, but what’s with the pajamas?

Tiny Shrimp: We don’t do bedtime, Charles. (Although I love my nightcap and I’m keeping it.)

Cate: Guys!

Continue Reading Cover Reveal: Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime »

2017 Europolitan Con Portfolio Winner Interview: Ana Larrañaga

By Sanne Dufft

Note: SCBWI Germany/Austria‘s Illustrator Coordinator Sanne Dufft interviewed Ana Larrañaga, a winner of the portfolio contest that took place at the SCBWI Europolitan Con in Belgium earlier this year. This is the second of two articles.

Ana Larrañaga was born in San Sebastian, Spain. She grew up in the country surrounded by a huge family and a lot of animals. Continue Reading 2017 Europolitan Con Portfolio Winner Interview: Ana Larrañaga »