New Voices: Vicky Fang & Janae Marks Share Their Journeys to Publication

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

I am so pleased to introduce debut authors Vicky Fang author of Layla and the Bots (Scholastic, 2020) and Janae Marks, author of From the Desk of Zoe Washington (Katherine Tegen, 2020).

Vicky Fang

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

I started writing children’s books to inspire and empower kids in STEAM,

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Native Voice: David Heska Wanbli Weiden on Writing Inclusive Books For Kids

By Kim Rogers

Today, I’m happy to welcome David Heska Wanbli Weiden to Cynsations.

David is the author of Spotted Tail, illustrated by Jim Yellowhawk and Pat Kinsella (Reycraft Books, 2019), a middle grade biography which traces the life of his tribe’s famous Lakota leader.

David, your book has received many accolades. Congrats on winning a Spur Award for the Best Juvenile Nonfiction book in 2019 from the Western Writers of America,

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New Voices: Chris Baron & Aimee Lucido on What Inspired Their Middle Grade Debuts in Verse

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Welcome to Chris Baron and Aimee Lucido! These two debut authors of middle grade novels in verse discuss inspiration, MFAs, and the mentor texts that stimulated their writing.

Chris Baron

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

I’ve certainly been writing for a long time in the more academic range of poetry,

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Author Interview: Kate Hosford on Poetry & Science in A Songbird Dreams of Singing: Poems About Sleeping Animals

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Author Kate Hosford‘s latest book, A Songbird Dreams of Singing: Poems About Sleeping Animals, illustrated by Jennifer M. Potter (Running Press, 2019), explores the sleeping habits of 17 different animals through poetry and exposition. The book piqued my curiosity, and I’m very exited to share a peek at Kate’s process with Cynsations readers.

Poems about sleeping animals are delightfully specific.

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New Voices: Brian Weisfeld & Alicia D. Williams Share How the Children Around them Inspire Their Writing

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Brian Weisfeld’s novel with Nicole C. Kear, The Startup Squad (Imprint, 2019) and Alicia D. William’s novel Genesis Begins Again (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy, 2019) were both inspired by the children around them. They’ve shared their inspirations and insights they’ve gained along their writing journeys. Welcome, Brian and Alicia!

Brian Weisfeld

What was your initial inspiration for writing this book?

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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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New Voices: Natasha Diaz & Kendra Fortmeyer, YA Debuts, Draw on Personal Experience

By Stephani Martinell Eaton & Gayleen Rabakukk

Today we welcome two debut YA authors with powerful stories grown from personal experience. Natasha Diaz‘s novel, Color Me In (Delacorte, 2019) explores the meaning of friendship, the joyful beginnings of romance, and the racism and religious intolerance that can both strain a family to the breaking point and strengthen its bonds. Hole in the Middle (Soho Press,

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Co-Authors Interview: Tami Lewis Brown & Debbie Loren Dunn

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today I’m excited to interview two fellow Vermont College of Fine Arts graduates, Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn about their new nonfiction picture book, Instructions Not Included, illustrated by Chelsea Beck (Disney-Hyperion, 2019).

Congratulations on Instructions Not Included! It’s a fun and inspiring book. Can you tell us what drew you to this project?

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Author Interview: Annie Boochever on Alaska Native Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich

By Traci Sorell

Rarely do we see biographies of Native people post-1900, so the biography of Elizabeth Peratrovich, Fighter in Velvet Gloves (University of Alaska Press, 2019), by Annie Boochever with Roy Peratrovich, Jr. (Tlingit) is a welcome addition in children’s literature.

The book recently represented the state of Alaska at the National Book Festival in Washington,

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New Voices: Meredith Davis & Nicole Valentine On Being An Author

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’m thrilled to introduce two debut authors to the Cynsations audience today. I met both at Vermont College of Fine Arts several years ago while we were all working on MFAs in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Both write middle grade, but their books are very different, illustrating the depth and diversity that exists in children’s literature.

Meredith Davis is the co-author of Her Own Two Feet: A Rwandan Girl’s Brave Fight To Walk (Scholastic,

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