New Voices: Meredith Davis & Nicole Valentine On Being An Author

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’m thrilled to introduce two debut authors to the Cynsations audience today. I met both at Vermont College of Fine Arts several years ago while we were all working on MFAs in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Both write middle grade, but their books are very different, illustrating the depth and diversity that exists in children’s literature.

Meredith Davis is the co-author of Her Own Two Feet: A Rwandan Girl’s Brave Fight To Walk (Scholastic,

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SCBWI’s Third Annual Literacy Initiative Gives Books, Builds Dreams, and Offers Hope to Readers In Need

The members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators join forces once again as part of the organization’s third Annual SCBWI Books For Readers book drive and literacy event to collect, curate, and donate new books created by its members to one of its two 2019 recipients: the Madison Reading Project in Madison, Wisconsin. (The other is REACH in Portsmouth, Virginia.)

The SCBWI Books for Readers literacy initiative grew from the organization’s desire to create an opportunity for its members to make an important impact in the lives of readers,

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New Voices: Former Teachers Bea Birdsong & Vivian Kirkfield Discuss Their Storytelling Journeys

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

I am thrilled to get to introduce Cynsations readers to Bea Birdsong and Vivian Kirkfield, two former teachers turned writers.

With their background in education and having spent years reading to children, it is no wonder that their passion is writing the absolute best stories that they can for kids.

Bea Birdsong

In terms of publishing,

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New Cynsations Reporter Kim Rogers

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Kim Rogers joins the Cynsations team as a reporter covering children’s-YA writing, illustration, publishing and other book news from Indigenous authors and illustrators.

Welcome to Cynsations! Could you tell us about your vision for Native voices coverage here at the blog? Why did you decide to take on this role in the conversation of books?

First off I’d like to say that I am so excited and honored to join Cynsations.

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New Voices: Remy Lai & Cory Leonardo Reflect on their Middle Grade Debuts

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Remy Lai, author and illustrator of Pie in the Sky (Henry Holt, 2019) and Cory Leonardo, author of The Simple Art of Flying (Aladdin, 2019) reflect on the debuts of their middle-grade novels. For both, finding fellow writers as mentors or critique partners along the journey proved invaluable.

Remy Lai

What first inspired you to illustrate for young readers?

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In Memory: Lee Bennett Hopkins

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Lee Bennett Hopkins, celebrated and renowned poet, educator, and anthologist, died Aug. 8 in Cape Coral, Florida. He was 81.

Obituary: Lee Bennett Hopkins from The New York Times. Peek:

Mr. Hopkins was famed in the children’s book world for championing poetry as well as for the sheer volume of his output.

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New Voices: Vivian Elbee & Hannah Holt on Persistence

By Traci Sorell

Today we’re chatting with picture book authors Viviane Elbee and Hannah Holt, both members of the Epic Eighteen debut group.

Viviane Elbee

Viviane Elbee, debut picture book author of Teach Your Giraffe to Ski (Albert Whitman, 2018), crafts a story that according to Kirkus Reviews “conceals a how-to for conquering one’s fears.”

Illustrated by Danni Gowdy and told in second person,

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New Voices: Writing Partners Katy Loutzenhiser & Nicole Panteleakos Discuss Their Paths to Publication

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Writers spend a lot of time alone which is why it’s so important that writers find communities and support. There are lots of ways to do that.

It just so happens that the debut authors we are celebrating today are writing partners and have shared with each other the struggles and joys of the writing life.

Meet Katy Loutzenhiser,

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New Voices: Beth Anderson & Tina Cho on Bringing True Stories to the Page

By Traci Sorell

Picture book authors Beth Anderson and Tina Cho‘s debut books both explore actual events and both authors agree, craft study and critique groups are vital components on the path to publication.

Beth Anderson

Beth Anderson and I share a love of nonfiction. Her debut picture book, An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin &

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New Voices: Margaret Greanias & Melissa Stoller on Writing Craft Resources

By Traci Sorell

Today Cynsations features two debut picture book authors, Margaret Chiu Greanias and Melissa Stoller, both members of the Epic Eighteen group.

Margaret Chiu Grenias

Maximillian Villianous, the debut picture book of author Margaret Chiu Greanias, centers on Maximillian, a young monster who does not fit in with his ill-mannered family.

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