Book Trailer: Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Check out the book trailer for Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh (HarperChildren’s, 2017). From the promotional copy:

We Need Diverse Books founder Ellen Oh returns with Spirit Hunters, a high-stakes middle grade mystery series about Harper Raine, the new seventh grader in town who must face down the dangerous ghosts haunting her younger brother. 

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Book Trailer: The Absoluteness of Nothing by C.G. Watson

By Gayleen Rabakukk

The Absoluteness of Nothing by C.G. Watson (Simon Pulse, May 2017) releases today in paperback. From the promotional copy:

Caleb Tosh has suffered one personal trauma too many, but this last one – the sudden departure of his mom – has pushed him down a dark and disorienting path.


His favorite video game,

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2017 SCBWI Europolitan Con: Agent Gemma Cooper & Author Robin Stevens

Agent Gemma Cooper

By Melanie Rook Welfing



Note: Gemma Cooper and Robin Stevens were interviewed by SCBWI Netherlands Regional Advisor Melanie Rook Welfing for the upcoming SCBWI Europolitan conference. This is the second in a series of six articles.

Gemma Cooper started her publishing career in New York, then spent several years working in London,

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Guest Post: New Voice Katie Bayerl’s Path to Publication

By Katie Bayerl

Katie Bayerl is the debut author of A Psalm for Lost Girls (Putnam, March 2017).

From the promotional copy:

“Tess da Costa is a saint — a hand-to-god, miracle-producing saint. At least that’s what the people in her hometown of New Avon, Massachusetts, seem to believe. And when Tess suddenly and tragically passes away, her small city begins feverishly petitioning the Pope to make Tess’s sainthood official.

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Author Interview: N. Griffin on Creativity, Mysteries and Writing a Series

By Gayleen Rabakukk

N. Griffin is the author of Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of the Missing Goop, illustrated by Kate Hindley (Candlewick, 2016). The cheerful middle grade mystery is the second in a series featuring a diverse pair of clever student detectives.

What do you love most about the creative life/being an author? Why?

My favorite thing about being an author is that I get to spend great hanks of time in my pajamas.

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Author Interview: Lamar Giles on Writing Mysteries, Diversity & His Writing Journey

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Lamar Giles’ last Cynsations visit was in 2014 as a debut author.

Since then, he’s had two novels named Edgar Award finalists by the Mystery Writers of America and helped found We Need Diverse Books.

He serves as senior vice president of fundraising for the non-profit organization dedicated to putting more books featuring diverse characters into the hands of all children.

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Cover Reveal & Author Snapshot: The Alarming Career of Sir Richard Blackstone by Lisa Doan

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Check out the cover for The Alarming Career of Sir Richard Blackstone by Lisa Doan (Sky Pony, 2017). From the promotional copy:

A funny middle grade mystery adventure complete with an unconventional knight, a science experiment gone awry, a giant spider, and a boy to save the day!

Twelve-year-old Henry Hewitt has been living by his wits on the streets of London,

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Guest Post: Amy & David Axelrod on The History of Magic & The Bullet Catch: Murder by Misadventure

See facebook page, excerpt  & educator guide.

By Amy Axelrod & David Axelrod

When we began, we knew that we wanted to write a novel about a down-and-out magician during World War I.

We knew the setting would be New York City and that this washed-up magician, who we named Barzini, would be involved with a roster of famous illusionists of the time.

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Guest Post: Simon Nicholson on An Alternative History & Investigator of Mystery

Excerpt, educator’s guide & more information!

By Simon Nicholson

I was reading books about Houdini. It seemed to me one of the most exciting things about him was that, as well as being the world’s most famous illusionist, he also devoted much of his life to doing battle against “magic”.

Enraged at the thought of ordinary people being exploited, he worked ceaselessly to expose fake séances,

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