Survivors: Kelly Milner Halls on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s-YA Author

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

In children’s-YA 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? 

When I studied journalism in high school (California) and college (Utah), I thought I’d be an investigative reporter for a newspaper someday.

Continue Reading Survivors: Kelly Milner Halls on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s-YA Author »

Survivors: M.T. Anderson on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s-YA Author

Learn more about M.T. Anderson.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

In children’s-YA 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? (Mention the year your first book was published.)

My first book – Thirsty,

Continue Reading Survivors: M.T. Anderson on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s-YA Author »

Survivors: Melissa Stewart on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s Author

Learn more about Melissa Stewart.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

In children’s-YA 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? 

A piece of paper on the idea board above my desk says:

“Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself.”

Those six simple words are a constant reminder of a lesson I learned the hard way at the beginning of my writing career.

Continue Reading Survivors: Melissa Stewart on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s Author »

In Memory: Russell Freedman

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Russell Freedman, 88, Writer of History for Young Readers, Dies by Neil Genzlinger from The New York Times. Peek:

Russell Freedman, who brought readable, relatable history to young readers in dozens of well-researched, generously illustrated books, died on March 16 in Manhattan.”

“The prolific nonfiction author — winner of the 1988 Newbery Medal for Lincoln: A Photobiography (Clarion,

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Guest Post: Sarah Albee on Brain Training: How Writers Must Learn to Shift Gears

By Sarah Albee

If you write for kids, chances are you are working on several things at the same time.

 Most writers of books for kids don’t have the luxury of working on one project for years and years. We are short-order cooks, juggling multiple tasks at multiple stages.

So how do we shift gears between projects?

To answer this question, I thought I’d start by giving you a tour of what’s on my own highly-organized and tidy desk today:

My laptop,

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Author Interview: Cynthia Levinson on Fault Lines in the Constitution

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Cynthia Levinson is co-author of Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, And the Flaws That Affect Us Today, also by Sanford Levinson (Peachtree, 2017). From the promotional copy: 

Many of the political issues we struggle with today have their roots in the US Constitution.


Husband-and-wife team Cynthia and Sanford Levinson take readers back to the creation of this historic document and discuss how contemporary problems were first introduced—then they offer possible solutions.  Continue Reading Author Interview: Cynthia Levinson on Fault Lines in the Constitution »

Event Report & Videos: Don Tate Launches Strong as Sandow: How Eugene Sandow Became The Strongest Man on Earth

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Author-illustrator Don Tate hosted a tremendous, successful book launch for Strong as Sandow: How Eugene Sandow Became The Strongest Man on Earth (Charlesbridge, 2017) Sept. 9 at BookPeople in Austin. From the promotional copy:

Friedrich Müller was born sickly and weak, yet he longed to be athletic and strong, like ancient Greek and Roman gladiators. Little Friedrich Müller exercised and exercised but to no avail.

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Author Interview: Laurie Wallmark on Clarifying Complex Topics & Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today we welcome Laurie Wallmark to discuss her new picture book, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, illustrated by Katy Wu (Sterling Books, May 16, 2017). From the promotional copy:

Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—and rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. 

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In Memory: Patricia C. McKissack

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Patricia C. McKissack, honored children’s author from Chesterfield, dies at 72 by Jane Henderson
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Peek: “…’I think my mother died of a broken heart.’ Fredrick McKissack Jr. said his mother and father were ‘best friends and partners.’”

Before becoming an author, Patricia earned a master’s degree from Webster’s University and taught English at a junior high school in Kirkwood,

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Author Interview: Michelle Markel Explores the Birth of Children’s Literature

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Each January the kidlit community celebrates the Newbery Medal and Honor Books awarded by the Association of Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. Some even have gatherings to watch the webcast of the awards presentation, but do we know about the man the award was named for?

Michelle Markel offers insight in her new picture book: Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books,

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