Author Interview: Supriya Kelkar on Writing Personal Stories

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’m excited to welcome author Supriya Kelkar to Cynsations.

Her debut middle grade historical novel, Ahimsa (Tu Books, 2017) received starred reviews and made the Amelia Bloomer Top Ten list from the American Library Association.

Her picture book, The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh, illustrated by Alea Marley (Sterling, 2019), was named to the ALA’s Notable List for 2020 and her newest title,

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In Memory: Gail Shepherd

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Gail Shepherd, award-winning journalist, poet, and author of middle grade novel The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins (Kathy Dawson, 2019) died of complications from a brain tumor on Feb. 24 in Lake Worth, Florida. She was 62.

Obituary: Gail Shepherd from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Shepherd’s editor, Kathy Dawson, shared this remembrance: ‘Gail was always learning, always fighting the good fight,

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New Voices: Joseph Elliott & Kate O’Shaughnessy on Writing the Books They Wanted to Read

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Today we welcome middle grade debut authors Joseph Elliott and Kate O’Shaughnessy as they talk about their inspirations as well as writing the book they needed and wanted to read.

Joseph Elliott

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

When I started writing, I wasn’t necessarily doing it with young readers in mind,

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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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Guest Interview: Librarians Kerensa Williams & Rita Painter Discuss Spooky Stories

By Cory Putman Oakes

Today is the last day of my Cynsations Spooky Middle Grade Takeover! I thought I’d go out with a bang and give you a double-librarian interview.

Since a lot of spooky middle grade books tread that fine line between upper elementary and lower middle school age, let’s hear from professionals for both age groups.

Welcome, Kealing Middle School librarian Kerensa Williams and Menchaca Elementary School librarian Rita Painter.

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Guest Post: Kate Messner on The Secrets to Writing Lots of Books, Promoting Them, and Still Having a Life

By Kate Messner

I’ll start this post with a confession. I don’t really have any secrets.

The truth is, when my first novel came out in 2009, I made all of the same overeager mistakes other debut writers make when that first book is released–over-promoting and dragging my wonderfully supportive family to book event after book event for an entire season.

(My daughter was nine then.

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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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New Cynsations Reporter Linda Joy Singleton

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Linda Joy Singlton joins the Cynsations team as an at-large reporter covering children’s-YA writing, illustration, publishing and other book news from the world of children’s literature.

Welcome to Cynsations! Could you tell us about your vision for your coverage here at the blog? Why did you decide to take on this role in the conversation of books?

Cynsations has been so supportive of my books over many years,

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Native Voice: Traci Sorell on At the Mountain’s Base & Indian No More

By Kim Rogers

For my first interview with Cynsations, I welcome author Traci Sorell! First off, so:ti:c?a to you and Cynthia Leitich Smith for this opportunity. I am thrilled and honored to join Cynsations as a reporter covering Native books for children and teens.

Traci, your debut picture book, We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, illustrated by Frané Lessac (Charlesbridge,

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