Welcome, Literary & Creative Community

Cynsations: Celebrating Children’s & Young Adult Literature is overjoyed about our 20th anniversary! We’ve shifted to a quarterly format with in-depth articles, interviews, and an overview of everything you need to know about the world of books for young readers. Check out the spring 2024 issue: https://cynthialeitichsmith.com/cynsations/

Congratulations and gratitude to Cynsations team contributors Gayleen Rabakukk, Suma Subramaniam, Mitu Malhotra, AJ Eversole, Michael Leali, and Gail Vannelli on a job well done!

The American Booksellers Association’s Summer/Fall 2024 Indies Introduce Featured Titles include:

LOOKING FOR SMOKE by KA Cobell (Heartdrum)

NOW, CONJURERS by Freddie Kölsch (Union Square & Co.)

BREAKING INTO SUNLIGHT by John Cochran (Algonquin Young Readers)

THE GHOSTKEEPER by Johanna Taylor (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)

TANGLEROOT by Kalela Williams (Feiwel & Friends)

Visit the link in my bio for the full list.

Bid to win a signed and annotated copy of SISTERS OF THE NEVERSEA, which received six starred reviews, including one for the audio edition! I’ll be autographing the book and scribbling process thoughts, writing tips, and a myriad of other reflections on reinventing Neverland, the merfolk, fairies, pirates, Darlings, Peter, and especially Lily!

Visit the link in my bio or visit @weneeddiversebooks for details on this fundraiser because We (Still) Need Diverse Books!


SISTERS OF THE NEVERSEA by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Heartdrum, June 2021). Ages 8-up. Also published by HarperCollins Canada and paperback edition published by Harper360 (June 2022), an imprint of HarperCollins UK. (@HarperKids @theshelfstuff with @weneeddiversebooks).

Join us May 23rd for our School Library Journal Day of Dialog virtual event! Our day-long program of author panels, in-depth conversations, and keynote talks will leave you informed, inspired, and entertained.

Visit the link in my bio for more information and to register.

Happy Birthday, @littlefreelibrary! Little Free Library became a nonprofit on May 17, 2012, launching its journey to make books accessible to everyone. They’re turning our organization’s nonprofit birthday into a week-long celebration May 12-18, 2024!

Visit the link in my bio to find out how you can participate in the conversation.

“…from the written homework I handed in, Mr. Rideout heard my voice and gave me an opportunity to share it. ‘Dear Gabby’ was blessedly anonymous, which meant I’d been provided a safe space to build my confidence.” —Cynthia Leitich Smith

School Library Journal “reached out to authors and illustrators to share memories of a teacher who made a difference, perhaps impacting the trajectory of their careers.” Read: https://www.slj.com/story/Teacher-Appreciation-Week-Authors-Share-Memories-Educators-Who-Made-Impact

Contributing authors also include AM Dassu, Anna Lapera, Kekla Magoon, Carole Boston Weatherford, and Traci Sorell.

Visit the link in my bio to reach all the entries.

Celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month with TWO TRIBES by Emily Bowen Cohen (Heartdrum)!

Find the teacher guide by Jenna Wolfe (Muscogee) at the link in my bio.

Jewish American Heritage Month in May recognizes Jewish contributions to American culture, history, military, science, government, and more,” according to the U.S. National Archives. @usnatarchives

Congrats to the short-listed titles for the Reading the West Book Awards! View the full category lists and vote now: https://readingthewest.com/34th-annual-voting-ballot/

From Native Hope @projectnativehope: “May 5 is the official MMIW Day and is the most widely celebrated across the U.S. and Canada. Every year, individuals wear red, and attend marches, rallies, bike rides, fundraisers, and more to raise awareness for the MMIW cause and fight against the injustice that’s happening to Native women and their families every day.”

Highlights of the 2024 ALSC Summer Reading Lists.

Honored that my YA novel, HARVEST HOUSE, was named to three Children’s Book Council 2024 lists—Young Adult Favorites, Teacher Favorites, and Librarian Favorites. View all the lists, including Children’s Favorites, at the link in my bio.

Summer Reads 2024 from Publishers Weekly! Highlights include books by @ka_cobell @harlemportland @lynnbrunelle @authorjasonchin @donoghuebaldwin @traceybaptistewrites @verabee.

2024 Summer Reading Recommendations by Elissa Gershowitz, Editor in Chief, from Notes from the Horn Book. PEEK: “When compiling the lists — thirteen selections (a baker’s dozen!) for all age ranges — we seek out page-turning fiction, nonfiction, folklore,

#Giveaway! To enter to win an ON A WING AND A TEAR advanced reader copy, comment with the title of your favorite book by an Indigenous author or illustrator. Deadline May 18, 2024. Ages 18+; U.S. only. Note: this giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.


Huzzah! It’s a third starred review for RED BIRD DANCED by Dawn Quigley, cover by Carla Joseph (Heartdrum).

School Library Journal (starred): “An impactful story about discovering how to declare yourself proudly and bring awareness to your community; this opens an important window into the modern-day life of Native American culture that has yet to be fully explored thoroughly in middle grade ­literature.”

@HarperKids @theshelfstuff @weneeddiversebooks @carla.joseph.35 @sljournal #middlegrade #bookstagram #middlegradebooks #mglit #middlegradefiction #bookreview #kidlit #middlegradereads #ojibwe #nativereads #weneeddiversebooks


Join Cynthia Leitich Smith, Kekla Magoon & 70+ more children’s book creators July 25-26 at Litapalooza, hosted by Anderson’s Bookshops! The event will take place at Neuqua Valley High School. Peek: “We are bringing K-8 educators & #kidlit creators…together for a day-and-a half of community, learning, and celebration of all things literacy! Registration is $30 per person…All Illinois educators will be receiving CPDUs at the end of each day they attend, so join us for the best professional development you’ll experience!”

Register at the link in my bio!
Register at: https://LITapalooza2024.eventcombo.com







1 Highlighting a few of the Indigenous children’s-YA book releases of June 2024!

Picture Book


I AM THE SUN by Janessa Parker & Beverly Blacksheep (Bushel & Peck Books)

Early Reader

BEHIND EVERY RUG by Daniel Vandever & Lynne Hardy (Scholastic)

Middle Grade

LEI AND THE INVISIBLE ISLAND by Malia Maunakea (Penguin Workshop)

RED BIRD DANCED by Dawn Quigley, cover by Carla Joseph (Heartdrum)

Young Adult

LOOKING FOR SMOKE by KA Cobell, cover by Leah Rose Kolakowski (Heartdrum)

WHERE WOLVES DON’T DIE by Anton Truer (Levine Querido)

Joyful Disclaimer: Due to the rise in Indigenous books, it’s impossible to me to offer an all-inclusive guarantee. Please feel free to let me know about additional Indigenous titles of June 2024 in the comments.

#picturebooks #diversebooks #bookstagram #nativeread #indigenous #nativehawaiian #youngadultbooks #yalit #childrensbooks #childrensliterature #middlegradebooks #middlegradefiction #mmiwg2s #mmiwg #ojibwe #navajo #yabooks

2 Celebrate Pride



★ “Quigley seems to have carefully and painstakingly placed every word on the page in such a way that, like the red bird, the entire novel spreads its wings and dances.” —Booklist

RED BIRD DANCED by Dawn Quigley, cover by Carla Joseph (Heartdrum, 2024) has also received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews.

@HarperKids @theshelfstuff @weneeddiversebooks @carla.joseph.35 @sljournal #middlegrade #bookstagram #middlegradebooks #mglit #middlegradefiction #bookreview #kidlit #middlegradereads #ojibwe #nativereads #weneeddiversebooks

1 Highlighting a few of the Indigenous children’s-YA book releases of July 2024!

2 – Twelve Days of Summer: A Wildlife Celebration by Sherri Maret (Choctaw Nation) & Thomas Hilley from Muddy Boots;
Wings of an Eagle: The Gold Medal Dreams of Billy Mills by Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota), Donna Janell Bowman & SD Nelson (Standing Rock Lakota) from Little Brown BYR
9 – Fish Farts: And Other Amazing Ways Animals Adapt by Joanne Settel & Natasha Donovan (Métis Nation of British Columbia) from Atheneum BYR;Kindred Spirits: Shilombish Ittibachvffa by Leslie Stall Widener (Choctaw Nation of OK) & Johnson Yazzie (Diné) from Charlesbridge

TWELVE YEARS OF SUMMER: A WILDLIFE CELEBRATION by Sherri Maret & Thomas Hilley (Globe Pequot/Muddy Boots)

HARVEST HOUSE paperback release day July 2


1 Highlighting a few of the Indigenous children’s-YA book releases of August 2024!

1 – Tana Cooks series (Four chapter books – Tana Cooks with Care, Tana Cooks a Valentine Surprise, Tana Cooks to Say Thanks, and Tana Cooks for a Special Veterans Day by Stacy Wells (Choctaw Nation of OK) and Maria Gabriela Gama from Capstone Editions
6 – Clack, Clack! Smack! A Cherokee Stickball Story by Traci Sorell and Joseph Erb (Cherokee Nation) from Charlesbridge;
The Sleeping Giant (The Misewa Saga series, Book Five) by David A. Robertson (Norway House Cree Nation) from Tundra Books
20 –  Autumn by Alexander Posey (Muscogee) and Paige Pettibon (Salish) from Cameron Kids;
It Bears Repeating by Tanya Tagaq (Inuk) and Cee Pootoogook (Inuk) from Tundra Books;
Today is Orange Shirt Day by Phyllis Webstad and Natassia Davies from Medicine Wheel Publishing;
We Are the Medicine (Surviving the City series) by Tasha Spillett-Sumner (Cree) and Natasha Donovan from HighWater Press
27 – Buffalo Dreamer by Violet Duncan (Cree/Taino) from Nancy Paulsen Books;
Little by Little: You Can Change the World by Sonya Ballatyne (Misipawistik Cree Nation), Rhael McGregor and Toben Raciot from HighWater Press
This Land: The History of the Land We’re On by Ashley Fairbanks (Anishinaabe – White Earth Nation) and Bridget George (Anishinaabe – Kettle and Stony Point First Nation) from Crown BYR