Guest Post: Amy Rose Capetta on Something Good Happened in 2016: Intersectionality in LGBTQ YA

By Amy Rose Capetta

Rainbow Boxes is a charitable initiative to connect LGBTQIA fiction with readers across the United States.

When Cori McCarthy and I did our research for Rainbow Boxes (AKA the most fun research–it mainly consisted of reading every LGBTQ YA book we could find), we were able to assemble a box of books that featured characters with a range of identities.

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Guest Post: Amy Rose Capetta on Something Good Happened in 2016: Celebrating LGBTQ YA

Rainbow Boxes co-founders Cori & Amy Rose

By Amy Rose Capetta

In 2015, it seemed like there was a slowly growing list of excellent YA books with central LGBTQ main characters–but there were clearly still barriers making it difficult for readers, especially teen readers, to find them.

Fellow YA author Cori McCarthy* and I created Rainbow Boxes to help bridge that gap,

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Author-Illustrator Interview: Ambelin Kwaymullina on Justice, Hope & Her Creative Family

Sample chapter from Candlewick Press

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

The second of a four-installment dialogue with Ambelin and Cynthia.  

Our focus is on the creative life and process,
speculative fiction, diversity, privilege, indigenous literature, and books for young readers.

Yesterday, Ambelin spoke on ethics, the writing process and own voices.

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Book Trailer: Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Check out the book trailer for Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker (Feiwel & Friends, 2016). From the promotional copy:

High school meets classic horror in Teen Frankenstein, Chandler Baker’s modern re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s gothic novel.



It was a dark and stormy night when Tor Frankenstein accidentally hits someone with her car.

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Author Interview: Monique Gray Smith on My Heart Fills With Happiness & Advice for Beginning Writers

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Today I’m honored to feature Monique Gray Smith, “a mixed heritage woman of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish descent” and the author one of my favorite new titles–my official go-to gift book for 2016.

What put you on the path to writing for young readers?

I never set out to write for young readers and to be honest,

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In Memory: Lois Duncan

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Author Lois Duncan died in June while Cynsations was on summer hiatus.

Lois Duncan Obituary: Bestselling author of fiction for young adults, including the thriller I Know What You Did Last Summer by Julia Eccleshare from The Guardian. Peek: “She was born Lois Duncan Steinmetz in Philadelphia, and grew up in Sarasota, Florida. Lois wanted to be a writer from childhood,

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Guest Post: E.M. Kokie on Hands-On Research & Getting Out of Your Character’s Way

By E.M. Kokie

From the flap copy of Radical by E.M. Kokie (Candlewick, 2016):

Preppers. Survivalists. Bex prefers to think of herself as a realist who plans to survive, but regardless of labels, they’re all sure of the same thing: a crisis is coming. 

And when it does, Bex will be ready. She’s planned exactly what to pack,

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Guest Post: Alan Cumyn on Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend

Find Alan on Facebook and @acumyn

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Welcome, Alan Cumyn! What was your initial inspiration for Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend (Atheneum, 2016)?

There’s a short answer and a long one. The short: in January 2012, popular YA author Libba Bray gave a speech to over a hundred writers at Vermont College of Fine Arts in which she brought us through the ups and downs of her writing career.

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Author Interview: Martine Leavitt on Calvin

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

From Macmillan: “Martine Leavitt has written several award-winning novels for young adults, including My Book of Life by Angel (FSG, 2012), which garnered five starred reviews and was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist; Keturah and Lord Death (Boyds Mills, 2012), a finalist for the National Book Award; and Heck Superhero (Boyds Mills,

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Author Interview: Barry Lyga on The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl

Barry Lyga on Barry Lyga: “Born on 9/11/71–you can imagine how I spent my thirtieth birthday! Lived for most of my life just about an hour below the Mason-Dixon Line, but never felt like a Southerner except when I visited family in New England, where I was told I talked like a rebel. Then, back in Maryland, friends said I sounded like a Yankee. So I guess I’ve felt like an outsider from the beginning!

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