New Voices: Vicky Fang & Janae Marks Share Their Journeys to Publication

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

I am so pleased to introduce debut authors Vicky Fang author of Layla and the Bots (Scholastic, 2020) and Janae Marks, author of From the Desk of Zoe Washington (Katherine Tegen, 2020).

Vicky Fang

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

I started writing children’s books to inspire and empower kids in STEAM,

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New Voices: Aya Khalil & Anna Crowley Redding on How Journalism Careers Informed Their Work

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Today I am happy to welcome debut picture book authors Aya Khalil and Anna Crowley Redding to Cynsations. Both have journalism backgrounds and discuss how that career helped them as a writer for children.

Aya Khalil

What were the best and worst moments of your publishing journey?

One of the best moments was reconnecting with my teacher (after 20 years) who inspired The Arabic Quilt (illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan,

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In Memory: Gail Shepherd

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Gail Shepherd, award-winning journalist, poet, and author of middle grade novel The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins (Kathy Dawson, 2019) died of complications from a brain tumor on Feb. 24 in Lake Worth, Florida. She was 62.

Obituary: Gail Shepherd from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Shepherd’s editor, Kathy Dawson, shared this remembrance: ‘Gail was always learning, always fighting the good fight,

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New Voices: Rob Justus & Kirsten W. Larson on Switching to a Career in Children’s Literature

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Rob Justus

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

After not drawing for about 15 years, I picked up a pencil for the first time and rediscovered my love for creating. I would say I’ve always had a quirky mind that would go to outlandish places, but I never really had an idea where I could channel this energy.

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In Memory: Tomie dePaola

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Tomie dePaola (pronounced da-POW-la), celebrated and beloved author and illustrator, died March 30 in Lebanon, New Hampshire after complications from surgery following a fall. He was 85.

Obituary: Tomie dePaola, ‘Strega Nona’ Author and Illustrator, Dies at 85 by Iliana Magra and Julia Carmel from The New York Times. Peek: “Mr. dePaola, whose best-known books were probably the ‘Strega Nona’ series,

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New Voices: Jessica Kim & Risa Nyman Talk Truth in Fiction

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Today I’m interviewing two debut middle grade authors about what inspired them as well as how truth emerges through their fiction.

While Jessica Kim’s Stand Up, Yumi Chung! (Kokila, 2020) is a humorous read, and Risa Nyman’s Swallowed by a Secret (Immortal Works, 2020) is more serious, both books are heartfelt.

Jessica Kim

What was your initial inspiration for writing this book? 

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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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Guest Post: Linda Joy Singleton on Critiquing Critique Groups

By Linda Joy Singleton

My First Critique Group

When I was a new young writer, a friend invited me to her critique group. I was told to bring a chapter of my work-in-progress to share. It was a casual group open to many writers. I had no idea what to expect and was so shy that reading in front of a dozen-plus writers terrified me.

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SCBWI’s Third Annual Literacy Initiative Gives Books to Readers in Need

From SCBWI:

The members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators joined forces once again as part of the organization’s annual SCBWI Books For Readers literacy initiative to collect, curate, and donate new books created by its members to one of its two 2019 recipients: REACH in Norfolk, Virginia.

Their carefully curated library of books was officially donated at the SCBWI Books For Readers/REACH Literacy Celebration on Nov.

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