Cynsations Intern: Mitu Malhotra Reflects on “Where I’m From”

By Mitu Malhotra

In the foothills of the Himalayas, when the fireflies danced and the moon rose over the sharp silhouettes of the world’s tallest peaks, I listened to my grandfather and father recite Urdu poetry: ghazals, nazms and shers—songs, poems and couplets reminiscing about life. Those are indeed my favorite childhood memories. Those were the long summer holidays before electronic media invaded our lives.

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Guest Post: Lyn Fairchild Hawks Advocates for Thirteen-Year-Old YA Protagonists

By Lyn Fairchild Hawks

Thirteen and In Between

The year I was 13, I grew from five-foot-seven to five-ten and three quarters. One day, a seventh grader gazed up at me and snapped, “Move, you big palooka.” You could say that moment I felt pretty small.

That year I also ran our school carnival.

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New Voices: Doan Phuong Nguyen & Patricia Tanumihardja Share Inspirations & Publishing Journeys

By Gail Vannelli and Gayleen Rabakukk

Spotlight image: Doan Phuong Nguyen celebrates the release of her new book.

Today Cynsations is excited to share the publishing journeys of two children’s authors, Doan Phuong Nguyen and Patricia Tanumihardja. Doan Phuong is the author of Mèo and Bé (Tu Books,

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Guest Post: Author Michael Leali on Retellings & His New Middle Grade Novel Matteo

By Michael Leali

As much as I’m a reader, I also love movies and television. As I recently told my boyfriend, “I’m addicted to story,” and I have been for as long as I can remember. Growing up, Disney animated features like The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin were some of my absolute favorites.

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Guest Post: Jacquetta Nammar Feldman: Your Manuscript Needs a Calendar!

By Jacquetta Nammar Feldman

My journey in calendaring my manuscripts did not begin with a calendar. It began with a list—a lengthy, elaborate document I had created to cross-reference dates, settings, and activities for my main character Yasmeen in my debut middle grade novel, Wishing Upon the Same Stars (HarperCollins, 2022). I thought my list was perfect.

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Author Interview: Anne Bustard’s Advice on Historical Fiction & Far Out!

By Gayleen Rabakukk

When I was brand-new to Austin, my fellow Vermont College alumnx welcomed me to the local kidlit community, especially Anne Bustard. At a writing retreat six or seven years ago, Anne told us she was working on an intergenerational story set in the 1960s, with a small Texas town planning a UFO welcome festival.

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Guest Post: Lyn Hawks on How YA Is Literary: The Search for an Abundant Canon

By Lyn Fairchild Hawks

As a young adult author and former high school teacher who loves reading lists full of unique voices and identities, I find recent news about banned books heartbreaking.

Back in 1986, I wrote a high school research paper about book censorship, and here we are again. I dived back into this problem as an MFA student at the Vermont College of Fine Arts,

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Guest Post: Sandra Nickel & Kathi Appelt on Picture Book Magic & Big Bear and Little Fish

By Sandra Nickel & Kathi Appelt

Spotlight image: Sandra Nickel and Kathi Appelt talking at the Château de Chillon in Switzerland in 2019, photo by Ken Appelt.

After receiving her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, Sandra Nickel studied an extra semester with Newbery Honoree and two-time National Book Award Finalist,

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Author Interview: Lyn Miller-Lachmann on Multiple Point-of-View & Torch

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I recently read Lyn Miller-Lachmann‘s young adult historical novel, Torch (Carolrhoda Lab, 2022), and am eager for Lyn to share her insights on writing in multiple points of view with Cynsations readers. First, from the promotional copy:

Czechoslovakia, 1969

Seventeen-year-old Pavol has watched his country’s freedoms disappear in the wake of the Soviet Union’s invasion.

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Throwback Thursday: Melanie Crowder on Parched

Throwback Thursday: Melanie Crowder on Parched

Congratulations to Melanie Crowder on her new young adult novel, Jumper (Viking, June 2022)! It received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Melanie recently joined the faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children and Young Adults program.

Take a look back at Melanie’s thoughts on her debut novel,

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