Author Interview: Mina Javaherbin on Writing Family & Faith

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Mina Javaherbin‘s latest picture book, My Grandma and Me, illustrated by Lindsey Yankey (Candlewick, 2019) explores the tender relationship between a young girl and her grandmother.

I’m excited to share insights and inspiration about her writing process with Cynsations readers!

Congratulations on My Grandma and Me! It’s a beautiful book and feels a bit more personal than your previous books.

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New Voices: Lyla Lee & Susan Hansen on Writing the Stories Only You Can Write

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today I’m interviewing two Texas authors whose childhood experiences inspired them to be writers and shapes the stories they’re writing today.

Susan Hansen is the author of From Behind All the Veils: The Story of Táhirih, illustrated by Susan Reed (George Ronald Books, 2019).

For Lyla Lee, 2020 is a double debut year with the Mindy Kim chapter book series,

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Heart & Spirit Author Interview: Eileen Meyer on Persistence

By Carol Coven Grannick

I’m an author and poet and recently retired clinical social worker who loves to explore the writer’s emotional and spiritual journey, and more recently, how that journey intertwines with our characters’ journeys.

I’ve long been particularly interested in the many facets of emotional resilience—the behaviors and beliefs that fuel and flow from it, such as optimism, gratitude, hope, joy, persistence, and productivity.

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Career Achievers: Kelly Starling Lyons on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s Author

By Traci Sorell

I love books that celebrate multigenerational family gatherings and connections between family members of all ages. Going Down Home With Daddy (Peachtree, 2019) combines rich language by Kelly Starling Lyons and spectacular illustrations by Daniel Minter.

When you sit with the book, you easily see why it garnered starred reviews, effusive praise and made The Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott list.

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Native Voices: Kevin Noble Maillard on Writing Fry Bread

By Kim Rogers

Today, I’m excited to welcome Kevin Noble Maillard to Cynsations. Kevin is a professor of law at Syracuse University, a journalist, and a member of the Seminole Nation. His debut picture book Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story is illustrated by Pura Belpré-award winner and Caldecott Honor-recipient Juana Martinez-Neal (Roaring Brook/Macmillan, Oct. 2019 ).

What was your initial inspiration for writing Fry Bread?

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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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Author Interview: Nikki Grimes on The Power of Words

By Traci Sorell

Memoir is one of my favorite genres to read. When Nikki Grimes shared some poems from hers last summer, I knew I must read Ordinary Hazards (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2019), the entire book.

Written in verse, her words captivated me much as the act of writing did her at an early age. The acclaim she’s already received in starred reviews and from fellow powerhouse creators speaks to the truth telling found within its pages.

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Native Vision: Weshoyot Alvitre on Illustrating At The Mountain’s Base

By Kim Rogers

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Weshoyot Alvitre to Cynsations.

At the Mountain’s Base (Kokila, 2019) is illustrated by Weshoyot and written by Cherokee author Traci Sorell.

Weshoyot is Tongva (Los Angeles Basin) and is well established within the Indigenous art community.

A comic book artist and illustrator, she has contributed to numerous Eisner award-winning books,

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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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