Awesome Authors: JaNay Brown-Wood on Disguised Learning with Books

By Linda Joy Singleton

How does being a college professor and the mother of a young child influence the topics you choose to write about?

I call myself JaNay Brown-Wood, Author & Educator. These titles go hand-in-hand because I feel that I use my books and writing abilities to educate while also using my education to pull inspiration for what I write.

Often, my books have an element of learning to them.

Continue Reading Awesome Authors: JaNay Brown-Wood on Disguised Learning with Books »

In Memory: Mitsumasa Anno

By Bree Bender

Award-winning children’s author and illustrator Mitsumasa Anno died Dec. 24, 2020. He was 94.

Obituary: Mitsumasa Anno by Shannon Maughan from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “He grew up in Tsuwano, a small town surrounded by mountains, where his talent for drawing and an aptitude for mathematics began to shine, and where his dream of becoming an artist first took root.”

Artist Mitsumasa Anno is Dead at 94 by Michael Schaub from Kirkus Reviews.

Continue Reading In Memory: Mitsumasa Anno »

New Voices: Tina Mowrey & Amy Mucha on Pitching Picture Books

By Gayleen Rabakukk and Stephani Martinell Eaton

Image above: Author Amy Mucha with her daughter, declaring their rights.

Today we welcome two picture book authors who used Twitter pitch events to connect with agents and editors to get their debut books published.

Tina Mowrey

What was your initial inspiration for writing this book?

This book came together from a marriage of two living things that could be found in our yard: raccoons and a prickly pear cactus!

Continue Reading New Voices: Tina Mowrey & Amy Mucha on Pitching Picture Books »

In Memory: Kathleen Krull

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Kathleen Krull, award-winning author and editor, died after a brief illness on Jan. 15. She was 68.

Author Kathleen Krull Remembered After Unexpected Death from School Library Journal. Peek: “Children’s author Kathleen Krull died unexpectedly over the weekend. Her sister-in-law announced her death on Krull’s Facebook page, sharing that Krull had been diagnosed with cancer a few months ago but the original prognosis was good.”

Obituary: Kathleen Krull by Shannon Maughan from Publishers Weekly.

Continue Reading In Memory: Kathleen Krull »

Guest Interview: Nikki Grimes on Writing Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice

By Kekla Magoon

As many people did, I followed the recent presidential election cycle fairly closely. During the early months of the primary season, I was hard at work on my picture book biography of Thurgood Marshall, The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership and Legacy, illustrated by Laura Freeman (Quill Tree Books, 2021).

Given my creative focus on this legendary,

Continue Reading Guest Interview: Nikki Grimes on Writing Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice »

Guest Interview: Kekla Magoon & Carole Boston Weatherford Discuss the Need to Write “Untold” Stories

By Kekla Magoon

As I was working on the initial draft of my new picture book biography, The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership and Legacy illustrated by Laura Freeman (Quill Tree Books, 2021), I naturally gravitated toward reading biographies written by other children’s writers, for inspiration and to gather a sense of the many and varied styles that were possible.

Continue Reading Guest Interview: Kekla Magoon & Carole Boston Weatherford Discuss the Need to Write “Untold” Stories »

Guest Post: Kekla Magoon on Writing The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy

By Kekla Magoon 

“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute,” wrote Thurgood Marshall, in one of the landmark cases he presided over as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Indeed, Justice Marshall spent most of his life working to ensure recognition of the humanity of all people within his nation’s laws.

I chose this quote as the inspiration for the title of my picture book biography,

Continue Reading Guest Post: Kekla Magoon on Writing The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy »

Author Interview: Hollis Kurman Highlights Human Rights in Her New Picture Book

By Elisabeth Norton

Today I’m pleased to introduce Cynsations readers to Hollis Kurman, whose debut picture book, Counting Kindness: Ten Ways to Welcome Refugee Children, illustrated by Barroux (Charlesbridge, 2020), has been released in six countries so far this year, with two more countries planned for 2021.

Hollis and I talked about the international aspects of her book,

Continue Reading Author Interview: Hollis Kurman Highlights Human Rights in Her New Picture Book »

Guest Post: Erik Talkin on Finding the Book You Are Uniquely Qualified to Write

By Erik Talkin

I had been the talented “nearly” man for a while, with a middle-grade that was purchased by a mid-level publisher that promptly decided to get out of the MG market before the book was published.

This was followed by a novel that went to the final stages of acquisition with a major publisher, before the marketing department decided that series were out that week.

Continue Reading Guest Post: Erik Talkin on Finding the Book You Are Uniquely Qualified to Write »

Author Interview: Martha Brockenbrough on Real-Life Inspirations for Stories

By Gail Vannelli

If you love old dogs and small kids, Martha Brockenbrough’s newly published picture book This Old Dog, illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo (Levine Querido, 2020) will capture your attention and your heart as you experience a friendship blooming between “old dog” and “his girl.” The story is remarkably well written, using one-syllable words that children—and dogs—can understand.

A nominee of the 2021 Pacific Northwest Book Awards,

Continue Reading Author Interview: Martha Brockenbrough on Real-Life Inspirations for Stories »