New Voices: Brian Weisfeld & Alicia D. Williams Share How the Children Around them Inspire Their Writing

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Brian Weisfeld’s novel with Nicole C. Kear, The Startup Squad (Imprint, 2019) and Alicia D. William’s novel Genesis Begins Again (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy, 2019) were both inspired by the children around them. They’ve shared their inspirations and insights they’ve gained along their writing journeys. Welcome, Brian and Alicia!

Brian Weisfeld

What was your initial inspiration for writing this book?

Continue Reading New Voices: Brian Weisfeld & Alicia D. Williams Share How the Children Around them Inspire Their Writing »

New Voices: Gita Trelease & Jodie Lynn Zdrok with YA Debuts Set in Paris

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Gita Trelease, author of Enchantée (Flatiron Books, 2019) and Jodie Lynn Zdrok, author of Spectacle (Tor Teen, 2019) both set their magical, historical novels in Paris. They share their inspirations, moments along their writing journeys, and advice for fellow writers.

Gita Trelease

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

Continue Reading New Voices: Gita Trelease & Jodie Lynn Zdrok with YA Debuts Set in Paris »

Author Interview: Annie Boochever on Alaska Native Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich

By Traci Sorell

Rarely do we see biographies of Native people post-1900, so the biography of Elizabeth Peratrovich, Fighter in Velvet Gloves (University of Alaska Press, 2019), by Annie Boochever with Roy Peratrovich, Jr. (Tlingit) is a welcome addition in children’s literature.

The book recently represented the state of Alaska at the National Book Festival in Washington,

Continue Reading Author Interview: Annie Boochever on Alaska Native Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich »

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,

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

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,

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

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,

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

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.

Continue Reading New Cynsations Reporter Kim Rogers »

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?

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

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.

Continue Reading In Memory: Lee Bennett Hopkins »

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,

Continue Reading New Voices: Vivian Elbee & Hannah Holt on Persistence »