Guest Interview: Editor Emma Ledbetter & Writer Zoë Armstrong on Picture Books & SCBWI’s Bologna Manuscript Contest

By Elisabeth Norton
for SCBWI Bologna 2018 and Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

Note: This interview is part of a series focusing on the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. 

SCBWI Switzerland Regional Adviser Elisabeth Norton talks with the judge and winner of SCBWI‘s new Dueling Illustrators Manuscript Contest. Continue Reading Guest Interview: Editor Emma Ledbetter & Writer Zoë Armstrong on Picture Books & SCBWI’s Bologna Manuscript Contest »

New Voice: Sarah Lynne Reul on The Breaking News

By Traci Sorell

I’m always amazed by those creators who can both write and illustrate their stories. Okay, I’ll admit a little jealous too. My talents do not lend themselves to do both.

 So shining the Cynsations’ spotlight today on Sarah Lynne Reul is a treat.

She shares about how she creates her art and why she ultimately decided to become a children’s book author-illustrator instead of focusing solely on illustration. 

Continue Reading New Voice: Sarah Lynne Reul on The Breaking News »

In Memory: Alice Provensen

By Gayleen Rabukukk

Alice Provensen, a Star in the Children’s-Book World, Dies at 99 by Neil Genzlinger from The New York Times. Peek:

Working with her husband, Martin, Alice Provensen created dozens of books for young readers. “The books they illustrated and wrote covered a wide range — educational, fictional, biographical, historical. They liked to travel to research them, and did so for the most acclaimed book they both wrote and illustrated,

Continue Reading In Memory: Alice Provensen »

New Voice: Cate Berry on Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime!

By Traci Sorell

I’m so pleasured to feature my interview with Cate Berry, debut picture book author of Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime, illustrated by Charles Santoso (Balzer + Bray, 2018).

Publishers Weekly described it as “…a buoyantly subversive antibedtime tale,” and I couldn’t agree more.

The witty repartee between Penguin and Tiny Shrimp,

Continue Reading New Voice: Cate Berry on Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime! »

Pura Belpré Award Winner & New Voice: Juana Martinez-Neal on Alma and How She Got Her Name

By Traci Sorell

Juana Martinez-Neal is a force of nature already this year.

Having won the 2018 Pura Belpré Award for her illustrations in La Princesa and the Pea, written by Susan Middleton Elya (Putnam, 2017), she now has her own debut picture book, Alma and How She Got Her Name (Candlewick, 2018).

Candlewick acquired the story in a seven-publisher auction and is releasing it simultaneously in Spanish and English.

Continue Reading Pura Belpré Award Winner & New Voice: Juana Martinez-Neal on Alma and How She Got Her Name »

New Voice: Brenda Maier on Making Picture Books Do Double Duty & The Little Red Fort

By Traci Sorell

I’m overjoyed to feature The Little Red Fort by author Brenda Maier and illustrator Sonia Sánchez (Scholastic, 2018) here on Cynsations.

This new picture book is a contemporary retelling of The Little Red Hen, featuring spunky Ruby and her three brothers who are not interested in helping her build a fort.

I love how Ruby takes matters into her own hands and figures out what needs to be done with a little help from her mother and grandmother.

Continue Reading New Voice: Brenda Maier on Making Picture Books Do Double Duty & The Little Red Fort »

Interview: Author Brad Wagnon & Illustrator Alex Stephenson on The Land of the Great Turtles

By Traci Sorell

I’m delighted to feature Brad Wagnon, a fellow Cherokee Nation citizen and author of The Land of Great Turtles (Rowe Publishing, March 2018). He is joined by Alex Stephenson, the book’s illustrator.

I met Brad a few years ago in Tahlequah through his work for the tribe. I enjoyed their first book, How the World Was Made (CreateSpace), Continue Reading Interview: Author Brad Wagnon & Illustrator Alex Stephenson on The Land of the Great Turtles »

New Voice: Monica Clark-Robinson on Let the Children March

By Traci Sorell

I couldn’t play on the same playground as the white kids. 
I couldn’t go to their schools.  
I couldn’t drink from their water fountains.  
There were so many things I couldn’t do. 

Let the Children March (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) follows a fictional African-American girl and her family through the very real events of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade in May 1963.

Continue Reading New Voice: Monica Clark-Robinson on Let the Children March »

New Voice: Gaye Sanders on The Survivor Tree

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Gaye Sanders is the debut author of The Survivor Tree, illustrated by Pamela Behrend (RoadRunner Press, 2017). From the promotional copy:

A family plants an American elm on the Oklahoma prairie just as the city is taking root—and the little tree grows as Oklahoma City grows until 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995, the day America fell silent at the hands of one of its own.

Continue Reading New Voice: Gaye Sanders on The Survivor Tree »

Cover Reveal: Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime


By Gayleen Rabakukk

Debut author Cate Berry interviews illustrator Charles Santoso about Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime! (Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins, May 2018)

Cate: Hi, Charles! I’m here with Penguin and Tiny Shrimp to talk about—

Penguin: Hey, Charles! Love the cover, but what’s with the pajamas?

Tiny Shrimp: We don’t do bedtime, Charles. (Although I love my nightcap and I’m keeping it.)

Cate: Guys!

Continue Reading Cover Reveal: Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime »