Guest Interview: Kathi Appelt & Cynthia Leitich Smith on Rebirth in the Neversea

By Kathi Appelt

This interview includes plot spoilers for Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Heartdrum, June 1, 2021). You may want to bookmark and return to it after reading the story.

Cover art by Floyd Cooper (Muscogee); from the promotional copy:

Lily and Wendy have been best friends since they became stepsisters.

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Author Interview: Corey Ann Haydu on Finding the Joy in Writing

By Bree Bender

Today, I am excited to welcome the critically-acclaimed middle grade and young adult author Corey Ann Haydu to Cynsations. Corey Ann is the author of many books for middle grade and young adult readers including her Edgar Award nominated young adult novel Eventown (Katherine Tegen Books, 2019).  Corey Ann’s latest middle grade novel, One Jar of Magic (Katherine Tegen Books,

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Author Interview: Joy Jones Jumps in to Share Stories

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’m always inspired by authors who balance writing with running organizations that promote literacy, and I’m thrilled to introduce Cynsations readers to Joy Jones, author, non-profit director and double Dutch jumper!

Congratulations on Jayla Jumps in! The story has a lot of interesting layers. What was your initial inspiration for writing it?

Jayla Jumps In (Albert Whitman,

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Author Interview: Sue Ganz-Schmitt on Vulnerability in Picture Books

By Gail Vannelli

Picture book author Sue Ganz-Schmitt had two new picture book releases last fall, and both contained storylines that embrace differences and fostered inclusion.

In That Monster on the Block, illustrated by Luke Flowers (Two Lions, 2020), which won the 2020 Northern Book Lights Award for Humor, Monster learns that his new neighbor is not a greedy goblin,

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Guest Post: Catherine Stier on Casting Light in the Darkness, Writing for Young Readers on Difficult Topics

By Catherine Stier

Image above: “Sunlight through storm clouds 2” by Holaday98 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Following the publication of my picture book When A Kid Like Me Fights Cancer, illustrated by Angel Chang (Albert Whitman & Co., 2019), a reviewer stated something that struck a chord.

Safya Benniche wrote in The Lancet Child &

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Guest Post: Erik Talkin on Finding the Book You Are Uniquely Qualified to Write

By Erik Talkin

I had been the talented “nearly” man for a while, with a middle-grade that was purchased by a mid-level publisher that promptly decided to get out of the MG market before the book was published.

This was followed by a novel that went to the final stages of acquisition with a major publisher, before the marketing department decided that series were out that week.

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Guest Post: Michele Weber Hurwitz: Taking a Risk with Narration: Trust Your Instincts

By Michele Weber Hurwitz

When I first read Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins, 2012), I remember being completely amazed.

A brown bear or a pigeon narrating a picture book are one thing, but a gorilla narrating a meaningful middle grade novel? This was something else entirely. Applegate’s brilliance took my breath away. The spare yet powerful writing as well as the non-human voice was absolutely perfect.

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Author Interview: Chris Barton on Writing Stories That Heal

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Sometimes a book can take you back to a particular time or place. When I read All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing after the Oklahoma City Bombing by Chris Barton, illustrated by Nicole Xu (Carolrhoda, February 2020), I remembered a day that book would’ve made a big difference.

In February 2001, when President Bush dedicated the Oklahoma City Memorial Museum,

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Author Interview: Kate Hosford on Poetry & Science in A Songbird Dreams of Singing: Poems About Sleeping Animals

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Author Kate Hosford‘s latest book, A Songbird Dreams of Singing: Poems About Sleeping Animals, illustrated by Jennifer M. Potter (Running Press, 2019), explores the sleeping habits of 17 different animals through poetry and exposition. The book piqued my curiosity, and I’m very exited to share a peek at Kate’s process with Cynsations readers.

Poems about sleeping animals are delightfully specific.

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Guest Post: Abigail Hing Wen on Character Development the Brutally Hard Way

By Abigail Hing Wen

After twelve years of writing and hundreds of rejections as I learned to write, I can’t quite believe my first novel is coming out in just eight weeks.

My biggest struggle had always been my characters. I read dozens of character craft books and asked for advice from character gurus like Coe Booth and Sandra Nickel.

Even as a student at Vermont College of Fine Arts,

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