In Memory: Mitsumasa Anno

By Bree Bender

Award-winning children’s author and illustrator Mitsumasa Anno died Dec. 24, 2020. He was 94.

Obituary: Mitsumasa Anno by Shannon Maughan from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “He grew up in Tsuwano, a small town surrounded by mountains, where his talent for drawing and an aptitude for mathematics began to shine, and where his dream of becoming an artist first took root.”

Artist Mitsumasa Anno is Dead at 94 by Michael Schaub from Kirkus Reviews.

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New Voices and Visions: Larissa & Keith Marantz on Succeeding as an Author & Illustrator Team

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Today I am so pleased to welcome the illustrator/author debut duo Larissa and Keith Marantz. From being inspired by their own children to working as a team, they’ll share their unique path to publication.

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

Keith: Well, we had young readers at home.  Our kids were our inspiration and first audience (and first critics).

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New Visions: Qing Zhuang Shares Her Motivation to Illustrate Books for Kids

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

I am happy to welcome debut illustrator Qing Zhuang to Cynsations today to talk about her journey and what motivates her to create books for kids.

What first inspired you to write/illustrate for young readers?

Books were my best friends. Growing up, I had a lot of things I wanted to say but couldn’t do so directly, partially due to language,

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Guest Interview: Illustrator Jane Pica on Drawing Spooky Stories

By Cory Putman Oakes

It’s Day 2 of my Cynsations spooky middle grade takeover!

Today’s post is an interview with Jane Pica, the illustrator for The Second Best Haunted Hotel on Mercer Street (Amulet, Aug. 18, 2020). She is responsible for the gorgeous cover and the interior illustrations.

This is the first book I’ve ever done that was partially illustrated–having an illustrator on the team was an amazing experience.

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In Memory: Susan Jeffers

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Susan Jeffers died January 22 at the age of 77.

Her book Three Jovial Huntsmen (Bradbury, 1973) received Caldecott Honors in 1974.

Jeffers studied art at the Pratt Institute, then worked in the children’s art department at three different publishing houses.

Working on other illustrators’ books inspired her to create her own. “…in 1968, Jeffers began an art studio with fellow illustrator Rosemary Wells,

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Career Acheivers: 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? 

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Native Voices & Visions: Sherri Maret & Merisha Sequoia Clark on The Cloud Artist

By Traci Sorell

Today I’m excited to feature an inspiring Choctaw duo–author Sherri Maret and illustrator Merisha Sequoia Clark–who crafted The Cloud Artist, a bilingual Choctaw-English fiction picture book (RoadRunner Press, 2017).

The story centers on a young Choctaw girl who creates art using clouds, and it has been well received since publication. It was a 2018 Oklahoma Book Award finalist,

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