Hallmark Great Stories Award

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

The Hallmark Great Stories Award will recognize and celebrate the power of storytelling by honoring new children’s picture books that celebrate family, friendship and community and that exhibit excellence in both writing and illustration.

Annual nominations will be reviewed by a multi-disciplinary panel of esteemed judges. For the inaugural year, judges include Betsy Bird, Alfredo Lujan, Alan Bailey and Cheri Sterman.

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2016 SCBWI Bologna Illustrator Interview: Rahele Jomepour

By Angela Cerrito
for SCBWI Bologna 2016
and Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

Rahele Jomepour was born in Mashhad, Iran. She moved to the United States in 2011 and graduated with MFA in Visual Arts from Iowa State University in 2015. 

She is a professional children’s picture book illustrator and painter,

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Author-Illustrator Interview: Lynne Barasch on Hiromi’s Hands

Hiromi’s Hands by Lynne Barasch (Lee & Low, 2007). Hiromi wants to spend more time with her sushi-chef Papa so she begs to go to the fish market with him. When he sees her interest is sincere, he begins to teach her about the fish. Later, she decides her dream is to be a sushi chef, just like him. Ages 4-up. See a preview of the story and read a Book Talk with Lynne from Lee &

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The Magic Horse of Han Gan by Chen Jiang Hong

The Magic Horse of Han Gan by Chen Jiang Hong (Enchanted Lion, 2006)(originally published in French as Le Cheval magique de Han Gan (2004)). A look into the life of painter Han Gan, who lived in China 1,200 ears ago, that incorporates a legend about one of the horses in his paintings coming to life. It’s always a high burden to offer art reflecting a great artist, but Hong more than succeeds.

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Small Beauties: The Journey of Darcy Heart O’Hara by Elvira Woodruff, illustrated by Adam Rex

Small Beauties: The Journey of Darcy Heart O’Hara by Elvira Woodruff, illustrated by Adam Rex (Knopf, 2006). Darcy notices life’s little gems–the spider web, the pebbles–and so it is she who carries with her the most vivid memories, the family heritage to a new land. With evocative, realistic illustrations, this lovely picture book works well both as one family’s story and a window into the past.

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Author Interview: Andrea Beaty on When Giants Come to Play

Andrea Beaty on Andrea Beaty: “I come from a very big family and a very small town in southern Illinois. There weren’t a lot of thrilling things to do in town, so we had to make our own fun. We roamed the fields and woods looking for adventures and we made up sports. Our favorites were chasing each other around the yard with old tires and trying to make each other laugh until we begged for mercy.

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Author Interview: Janet Wong on The Dumpster Diver

Janet S. Wong is the author of eighteen books, including three titles published this year: Before It Wriggles Away, part of the Meet the Author Series (Richard C. Owen, 2007), Twist: Yoga Poems, illustrated by Julie Paschkis (Margaret K. McElderry, 2007)(excerpt), and The Dumpster Diver, illustrated by David Roberts (Candlewick, 2007).

Janet S.

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Author Feature: Julia Durango

Julia Durango on Julia Durango: “I was born in Las Vegas of all places, but my family moved often and by the time I finished high school I’d attended seven schools in five states (California, Utah, Rhode Island, Indiana & Missouri). I moved again to attend the University of Illinois where I received degrees in Latin American Studies and Political Science. I traveled frequently to Latin America during that time,

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