Saturday, March 04, 2006

Cynsational News & Links

My upcoming gothic fantasy novel, Tantalize (Candlewick), has been moved up from an anticipated August 2007 to an anticipated March 2007 release date. I'll keep Cynsational readers posted as news develops.

Congratulations to Janee Trasler at Art & Soul on the sale of two books--Ghost Eats It All (2006) and Ghost Gets Dressed (2007) to Little Brown!

Take a sneak peek at the action-packed cover art for Linda Sue Park's upcoming Archer's Quest (Clarion, 2006)(see the March 1 LJ post). The illustrator is Greg Call--wowza!

ALA BBYA 2007 Nominees -- Updated March 1, 2006: highlights include: Firebirds Rising edited by Sharyn November (Firebird, 2006); Freaks! Alive on the Inside by Annette Curtis Klause (McElderry, 2006)(author interview); and A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone (Random House/Wendy Lamb, 2006)(author interview).

2006 Books from Michigan Children's Authors and Illustrators from Michigan SCBWI. Highlights new titles from such luminaries as Janie Bynum (author-illustrator interview), Lisa Wheeler (author interview), and Hope Vestergaard (author interview). I wish every SCBWI chapter offered a page on their website like this; consider that today's hint to the universe. By the way, I lived in Ann Arbor when I was a student at The University of Michigan Law School.

Gallery: Raul Colón from Papertigers. Raul is the illustrator of Tomás and the Library Lady (1997) and Doña Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart (2005)(recommendation), both written by Pat Mora and published by Knopf. Take a look at eight wonderful illustrations from Tomás and the Library Lady.

Interview with Milly Lee by Marjorie Coughlan from Papertigers. Milly is a former school librarian and the author of Nim and the War Effort (FSG, 2002), Earthquake (FSG, 2001), and Landed (FSG, 2006). All three titles are illustrated by Yangsook Choi.

The Power of Reading Children's Books about Libraries and Librarians: a bibliography by Minjie Chen from Papertigers.

Young Adult Fantasy Author Cinda Williams Chima: author site features links and resources for authors, biography, novel excerpts, reviews, events and appearances; Chima’s books include The Warrior Heir (Hyperion, 2006)(PDF excerpt), The Wizard Heir (Hyperion, 2007).

Friday, March 03, 2006

SCBWI Bologna 2006 Illustrator Interview: Sara Rojo Pérez

From SCBWI Bologna 2006:

Sara Rojo Pérez will be speaking at the SCBWI Bologna 2006 conference in Bologna, Italy, March 25-26, 2006. Other speakers include: Authors and illustrators Scott Westerfeld (author interview), Justine Larbalestier (author interview), Doug Cushman. Editors: Victoria Arms/Bloomsbury, Judy Zylstra/Eerdmans, Anne McNeil of Hodder UK, Mary Rodgers/Lerner. Agents: Rosemary Canter/PFD, Barry Goldblatt/Barry Goldblatt Literary, Rosemary Stimola (agent interview), and others. See registration information.

Sara Rojo Pérez is an artist working in many different media. She was for many years the Artistic and Creative Director of Sopa de Sobre, an animations studio working in both publicity and film. She has illustrated over 30 books, including La Aventura De Cecilia y El Dragón (Candela/Bibliópolis), Misterio En El Jardín (Kalandraka), Mi Gata Eureka (Candela/Bibliópolis), Manual Práctico Para Viajar En Ovni (Candela/Bibliópolis), The Free and the Brave: A Collection of Poems About the United States (Compass Point Books), and The Flying Pilgrim (Aldeasa), among others. Her picture book No Hay Nada Como El Original (Destino) was selected by the International Youth Library in Munich for the White Ravens 2005. Lawrence Schimel interviewed her in February 2006.

LS: How and why did you begin illustrating for kids?

SRP: For many years, while I was working in animation, I had been asking my writer friends to write me a story for children to illustrate, but they were all so lazy! In the end, I sent my portfolio to a young Spanish publisher specialized in children’s books that I had liked, and they responded offering me a text to illustrate.

LS: You also illustrate for adults. Is it more challenging for you to draw for one age group or another?

SRP: It is more difficult to illustrate for children, but mostly because the editors (especially in the US) have so many rules and prohibitions. Lately, I am working more in graphic novels, and it is such a relief to have that freedom!

LS: Name one book you wish you had illustrated?

SRP: I have always wanted to illustrate a book about math, but no publisher has ever offered me one—not even when I have worked illustrating textbooks!

LS: What is a favorite book from your own childhood?

SRP: Jim Button and Lucas the Conductor by Michael Ende.

LS: As an adult now, what is your favorite children's book (as a reader)?

SRP: As a reader, I find Tamora Pierce to be quite addictive, for her lively female characters.

LS: What non-children's book influences do you draw on for your work?

SRP: My tastes and training in art are quite diverse, and I don’t distinguish between art for younger or older viewers, but rather whether it fulfils its intentions and, most importantly, if it speaks to me in some way.

LS: And from the world of children's literature?

SRP: Quentin Blake is a favorite. I also like how Holly Hobbie manages to be cute without being too saccharine.

LS: Any advice for new illustrators?

SRP: Look at all different kinds of art and styles. And don’t get frustrated by any individual editor’s (or art director’s) response.

LS: Any advice for more experienced illustrators?

SRP: Try new styles, both to avoid burnout and to avoid being pigeonholed as only being capable of one particular style.

LS: You work in many different media. Do you illustrate differently depending on whether you are using a pencil, a paintbrush, or the computer?

SRP: The tool itself doesn’t matter so much as the effect or tone that the text I am illustrating requires. So many people think that computers are a mystifying and alien world, but they are just another tool to be used (or not) depending on what techniques are called for.

LS: What are some of the differences in children's publishing, and/or being an illustrator, in Europe as opposed to the US?

SRP: For one thing, these questions! In Europe, illustrating for children is not so stratified or segregated as a subspecialty. In terms of publishing, however, the market (especially in Spain) is very dominated by translations from the English, and especially for picture books, co-editions with international publishers from the UK, the US, France, etc.

LS: What is your relationship with the writers you work with?

SRP: So far I haven’t killed any of them!

LS: Do you prefer illustrating your own manuscripts, or working in collaboration with another's text?

SRP: So far I prefer working with other people’s texts. But who knows what the future may hold…

LS: What do you have up on the walls of your studio?

SRP: Drawings of mine, photos, a poster from Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree. The list of deadlines I need to worry about.

LS: Any other thoughts you'd like to share?

SRP: Bologna is great. Not only can one see so many different children’s books being produced all over the world, but the food is always superb!

Cynsational News & Links

Marc Aronson (author interview) has been selected by the History Channel to be their spokesperson for a program called "Save our History," which provides grants to schools that do outstanding work on local history. He'll be filming from at least ten cities this summer.

From Blogger to Published Author, for $30 and Up by Sean Captain from The New York Times. Find out about "new Book-Smart software from Blurb." The software is scheduled to be offered for free by the end of the month at www.blurb.com. It includes a "Slurper" tool for downloading and reforming a blog post into a book, available for purchase online. [Thanks to Jennifer L. Holm, author of Babymouse (Random House, 2006), for suggesting this link].

Uma Krishnaswami (author interview) has been awarded a 2006 residency at Hedgebrook, an organization whose mission is to invest in women writers "by providing them with space and time to create significant work."

Author D. Anne Love's website has been redesigned by 2 Bad Mice Design. Check it out! D. Anne is the author of Semiprecious (McElderry, 2006) and Of Numbers and Stars: The Story of Hypatia (Holiday House, 2006.)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

2006 Green Earth Book Award Recipients

The Newton Marasco Foundation (NMF) yesterday presented its annual Green Earth Book Award to two books and their authors for their work in promoting environmental awareness and responsibility to America’s youth. The winners are: Near One Cattail: Turtles, Logs and Leaping Frogs by Anthony D. Fredericks, illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio (Dawn Publications, 2005) and Flush by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf, 2005).

NMF, in partnership with Salisbury University in Maryland, established the Green Earth Book Award in 2005 to promote books that encourage children to respect, appreciate and protect the natural environment. The book award is presented annually to authors in two categories: children and young adult. The winning books receive the Green Earth Book Award seal, and a monetary prize of $2,500 is split between the author and illustrator. In addition, a $500 donation is provided to the environmental organization chosen by each winner.

Near One Cattail: Turtles, Logs and Leaping Frogs was selected for the children’s category. Through poetry about the many creatures of the wetland, the book focuses on the ecology of a wetland ecosystem and encourages stewardship. Flush was selected for the young adult category and follows the detective work of young adults in discovering the dangers caused by a casino boat illegally dumping raw sewage into the Florida Keys.

“This book award is one of the Newton Marasco Foundation’s most exciting initiatives, and embodies our goal of instilling environmental awareness in children,” said Amy Marasco Newton, president of Newton Marasco Foundation. “The winning authors were chosen for their efforts to inspire children to value the environment, and to help educate a new generation on the importance of protecting our environment.”

Review of the nominated books and selection of the winners is conducted by a diverse panel of professionals, including college-level professors, environmental professionals, environmentalists, and children’s literature professionals.

In 2005, the first recipient of the Green Earth Book Award was The Sea, The Storm, and The Mangrove Tangle by Lynne Cherry. See more information about the Green Earth Book Award, a list of honorable mention books, award criteria and the 2006 review panel.

The Newton Marasco Foundation (NMF) is a national nonprofit organization with the mission to work collaboratively on issues related to environmental stewardship through the areas of education and greening. Headquartered in McLean, Va., they have chapters throughout the nation and in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Cynsational News & Links

Children's Writers in the Central U.S.: Those who in the past or present have lived in or near Kansas, Missouri, Iowa or Nebraska, check out kidlit_central. It's a venue to share ideas, network, and promote children's book creators from the heartland. [I was born in Kansas City, graduated from The William Allen White School of Journalism at The University of Kansas, Lawarence, and have lived on both the Kansas and Missouri sides of the KC state line. I still have a great deal of family in the area and visit often.]

Presenting the First Carnival of Children's Literature from Here in the Bonny Glenn--a don't miss event!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Author Feature: Lynn E. Hazen

Lynn E. Hazen’s first novel, Mermaid Mary Margaret (Bloomsbury, 2004), written for middle grade readers, was hailed “a winner” by Kirkus Reviews. She followed her success with a picture book, Buzz Bumble to the Rescue (Bloomsbury, 2005). Her early reader, Cinder Rabbit, is forthcoming, and she is nearly finished revising her young adult novel, Shifty.

When Lynn is not busy writing, she enjoys visiting schools and libraries as a guest author. In fact, Lynn was a finalist in SCBWI’s “Idol” competition (highlighting her school visit presentation) at the 2005 National Conference in Los Angeles. Lynn earned an M.F.A in Writing For Children and Young Adults in 2004 at Vermont College, where she won the Houghton Mifflin Award for her YA novel-in-progress, Shifty. She also has an M.A. in Education and a B.S. in Applied Behavioral Sciences.

Let's start with you! You splashed onto the children's book scene with a middle grade novel, Mermaid Mary Margaret (Bloomsbury, 2004), and buzzed forward with a picture book, Buzz Bumble to the Rescue (Bloomsbury, 2005). Could you tell us a little about your path to publication, including the soaring moments and any stumbles along the way?

As a preschool teacher and director, I read zillions of picture books aloud to the children. So I always imagined my first book would be a picture book. I received many encouraging letters from editors but no acceptances until I tried writing a middle grade novel—Mermaid Mary Margaret was my first published book. And a year later, my first picture book was published, too.

What about your books? What was your initial inspiration for Mermaid Mary Margaret?

I had at least three inspirations for Mermaid Mary Margaret. One was imagining what several spunky preschool kids would be like when they were ten or eleven years old. Knowing these great preschoolers helped me create a believable character, Mary Margaret. I enjoyed spending time with her. My second inspiration was my grandmother who came to the U.S. from the Greek island of Rhodes. She never had a chance to go back to the “Old Country” as she called it, so I thought I’d send my fictional character on a trip to the Greek Islands with her grandmother. Finally, I was inspired by a workshop at an SCBWI conference given by Paula Danziger on “How to Be Seriously Funny.” One of Paula’s writing prompts launched me into the first few pages of what eventually became Mermaid Mary Margaret. The great thing was, I sent Paula a letter and a copy of MMM, telling Paula how her workshop had helped me get started. And she later called me on the phone, and told me she liked the book. That was a nice surprise and very cool.

What was the timeline from spark to publication, and what were the major events along the way?

For Mermaid Mary Margaret, it took about seven months to write a rough draft. I was lucky to have the first three chapters read by an editor for critique at our local Asilomar conference. Victoria Wells Arms liked it, had some great suggestions, and wanted to see it again. That was a major event for me.

My critique buddies also gave me great encouragement and advice. It took about two years from my first scribbled sentences to a signed contract. Then another year and a half for revisions, editing, copyediting, and the rest of the publication process before Mermaid Mary Margaret was on bookstore and library shelves. But it was worth the wait. (And of course there were many years of honing my craft prior to writing Mermaid Mary Margaret.)

What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, logistical) in bringing it to life?

Working full-time running my preschool while raising a family and juggling time to write was a big challenge. Not giving up, of course is certainly challenging at times for most writers, I think. Writing is fun, but hard work. Since I had never been to the Greek Islands myself (I still hope to go someday), I needed to research a bit. So I read books, surfed the Internet, and basically “pretended” I was there.

At one important point in my novel, Mary Margaret and her grandmother see a dolphin, and I wanted to make sure that was a true possibility, so I surfed the web and found a Greek scuba and snorkel trip captain. I emailed him my questions re: local sea life. When he kindly emailed back, that made the world seem smaller and friendlier, and my story all the more real.

How about Buzz Bumble to the Rescue? How did you get in touch with your inner bee? What are the main considerations in writing an animal (in this case insect) picture book?

Well, Buzz is a “new baby” sibling rivalry story dressed in bee “clothing” with the “garden” as a universal family setting. It was inspired by the fat bumble bees in my own garden, the preschool families again, and the very real emotions that children feel. The illustrator, Jill Newton, did a wonderful illustration of pitiful Buzz sitting on a daisy all alone after landing on his “bumble bum.” When Ansel Antennae, the famous photographer from National Bee Graphic Magazine, pays attention to cute little Baby Bumble instead of Buzz, poor Buzz feels horribly overlooked. That sums up my feelings when I get a rejection sometimes, so maybe the “inner bee” really is me.

My main considerations for any picture book are humor, emotion, just the right details, read-aloud-ability, pacing, page turns, and of course, plot. Something has to happen to your characters that young readers will care about and relate to. Oh, and you have to accomplish all that in as few words as possible, while creating plenty of illustration possibilities. No easy task.

What are you reading these days?

This week I am reading a stack of early readers, mostly the winners of the new ALA Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. Why? I just had a new book accepted. It’s an early reader called, Cinder Rabbit. It will be out in a year or so and I had a lot of fun writing it. So I plan to write more early readers. And I’m always reading new middle grade and YA novels, because I have a couple of those projects in the works, too. I’ll keep you posted.

What advice do you have for beginning writers?

Read, read, read. Write and rewrite. Join a good critique group, take classes, and of course rewrite some more. Attend local writing conferences. Try new genres. Always keep perfecting your craft. Be brave. And don’t give up!

What can your fans expect next?

My early reader, Cinder Rabbit. I’m also finishing revisions on my new YA novel, Shifty. After that, an editor is waiting to see a graphic novel script. And then? More middle grade novels, early readers, and picture books.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

Nope, that’s about it. Thanks, Cynthia. After rereading what all my next projects are, I’d better get cracking. Please check out my websites for news about my upcoming books as well as fun activities for kids and teachers at www.LynnHazen.com and www.MermaidMary.com.

Cynsational Notes

See more author interviews as well as my bibliographies of recommended picture books, middle grade fiction, and fantasy. Note continuing pages on sidebar.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Author Update: Lisa Wheeler

We last talked to noted picture book and easy-reader author Lisa Wheeler about the publication of Sixteen Cows, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Harcourt, 2002, 2006)(author interview).

Could you tell us a bit about your backlist titles published since 2002?

Oh, my. 2002? Really? This'll be a long list, so you may want to truncate it. Of course, I didn't write all these in such a short amount of time. It just so happens, they all came out en mass.

From Harcourt, Inc.: One Dark Night, illustrated by Ivan Bates, 2003; Avalanche Annie, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus, 2003; Farmer Dale's Red Pickup Truck, illustrated by Ivan Bates, 2004; and Mammoths On The Move, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus, coming out April 1st, 2006.

From Little, Brown & Co.: Porcupining: A Prickly Love Story, illustrated by Janie Bynum, 2003; Te Amo, Bebe, Little One, illustrated by Maribel Suarez, 2004; Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith, 2004; and Hokey Pokey: Another Prickly Love Story, illustrated by Janie Bynum, 2006.

From Atheneum: Sailor Moo: Cow At Sea, illustrated by Ponder Goembel, 2002; Turk And Runt, illustrated by Frank Ansley, 2002, 2005; Old Cricket, illustrated by Ponder Goembel, 2003, 2006; Seadogs: An Epic Ocean Operetta, illustrated by Mark Seigel, 2004; Uncles And Antlers, illustrated by Brian Floca, 2004; Castaway Cats, illustrated by Ponder Goembel, coming out June 1st, 2006.

Fitch & Chip Easy Readers Series, illustrated by Frank Ansley: #1 New Pig In Town, 2003, 2005; #2 When Pigs Fly, 2003, 2005; #3 Who's Afraid Of A Granny Wolf?, 2004, 2006; #4 Invasion Of The Pig Sisters, coming out March 2006.

Congratulations on winning the Texas Bluebonnet Award for Seadogs: An Oceanic Operetta, illustrated by Mark Seigel (Richard Jackson/Atheneum, 2004)! What was your initial inspiration for creating this book?

It started in July of 2000, right after the death of my dear friend, Linda Smith. My family took a trip to our cabin in northern Michigan, where I was very withdrawn and, understandably, didn't feel like taking part in any of the 4th of July festivities. I recall sitting in the car and hearing this voice in my ear. I knew it was a character speaking to me. He was an old seadog, and he kept begging me for one last sail. Well, you know how persistent dogs can be. I had to write his story.

I feel that Seadogs is a combination of the things I love best: Dogs, music, stage plays and musicals, friendship, adventure, and family.

What was the timeline from spark to publication?

Nearly four years. It took me a year and a half to write the book. Then, Mark had to do the art. Which is so wonderful! How lucky I am to have such an artistic genius bring my words to life.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, logistical) in bringing it to life?

The biggest twist came after I worked on the book for a year. I sent it to my editor, Richard Jackson. I hoped he liked it because I was so in love with the book, and I knew he might be my only editor who would connect with it. He did like it, but he asked for more. Dick felt that the book was for older readers (smart man!) and he asked if I could write more songs so this could be a 40-page book. That got me so excited! I'd wanted to write more about the pirates and this gave me the opportunity to do just that. Many of my favorites were written in the six months after I initially showed it to Dick.

What do you think Mark Seigel's art brought to the book?

Because I had written this as an operetta, I had the songs in an order that I felt could not be veered from. When Mark got the text and began dummying up the book, he found that a rearranging of some of the songs worked best. I was skeptical until I saw the dummy. Yes! It all worked wonderfully his way.

Plus, Dick Jackson is the type of editor who allows authors to see work in progress and give input. Not that the dummy needed my input, but I was able to make a few suggestions and Dick and Mark agreed to use them. I was so blown away by the end result, that I actually stood up and applauded when I got to the end of the book.

So I give credit to Mark Seigel for making a good book a book great. And, of course, to Richard Jackson for giving us both a chance to create something unique.

In addition to picture books, you're writing the Fitch & Chip easy reader series, illustrated by Frank Ansley (Richard Jackson/Atheneum, 2003-). What inspired this project? What advice do you have about writing easy readers? What is it like to work on a series?

I got the idea for Fitch & Chip when I began to think seriously about anthropomorphism and how I, as a writer, must be careful not to stereotype animals (examples: sly fox, big bad wolf, lazy pig).

I decided I wanted to write a buddy story, wherein one child was a wolf, and the other a pig. But in this case, Fitch the wolf is mild mannered, shy, thoughtful, and a vegetarian. Chip, the pig, is a big irrepressible ham. I loved all the possibilities of where that friendship could lead.

Before I began writing this, I went to my library and checked out a stack of easy readers. I read them for two weeks. By the time I sat down to write, those easy reader rhythms were in my head. I couldn't not write an easy reader. One of the things I learned by all that reading was that if I wanted to introduce a difficult word, I had to be sure to repeat it. So, in the first book, you will see the word shoulder repeated many times.

I enjoy working on this series. Not only have I gotten to know these characters better, but I see them evolving and their friendship growing and changing. It's fun!

I just finished reading your Mammoths on the Move, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Harcourt, 2006) and loved it! Could you tell us a little about the story behind this story? Why mammoths? How did you go about doing the research? What do you think Kurt Cyrus's art brought to the book?

I always knew I would write a mammoth book. I have loved these creatures since eying Mr. Snuffleupugus for the first time on Sesame Street. They've always seemed so grand to me. So majestic.

I knew I could not anthropomorphize them. I knew that if I ever wrote about them, it would be non-fiction and it would be with reverence. But, since I generally write young rhyming books, I wasn't sure how I would ever find a way to combine my love of mammoths with my writing style.

Then one day, as I was reading an adult non-fiction book on mammoths, I got to a part about mammoth migration. My mind immediately began to wander and wonder. I could see this herd of mammoths moving across the steppes. I could see the mothers and babies, foraging for food on the way. I got goosebumps, and I knew that this is what I would write about. These wonderful wooly mammoths on the move!

I went to the library, sure that it had been done before. There are many books out about mammoths for kids, but I didn't find any like the one I envisioned.

Mine would be in a marching rhyming beat, like mammoths walking. Mine would be factual, yet fun. Mine would be for younger children, who might not be ready to sit for a heavy non-fiction book.

Since I am not a non-fiction writer, I checked my facts over and over and over, because it worried me that a) I might make a mistake; and b) reviewers might not take me seriously; and c) I'd let my readers down.

The art for Mammoths On The Move was a bonus. I already loved the text. Kurt makes those mammoths look so real, I want to reach out and touch them. When the art arrived on my doorstep-Wow! I was blown away. So very, very beautiful.

Also, I recently purchased my very own mammoth tooth. It is from the Pleistocene era and was found in the Netherlands. It means so much to me to have a part of history. I cannot wait to share this book (and the tooth) with school students.

You're a successful picture book author in a tight market. What advice do you have for beginners? For those of your colleagues who're struggling right now?

If you study your craft, read everything that is out there, write the books only you can write, good things will happen. Yes, it is hard to break into print. We all pay our dues. Some work longer than others. But I have to believe that the cream rises to the top. If I didn't believe that, I couldn't keep doing this.

The picture book market, like the tides, ebbs and flows. If picture books are not selling well now, just give it a few years and it'll come around again.

There was a nearly two-year period where I did not sell a manuscript. Everything I sent in got rejected. While this was happening, I had books being released that had sold back in '98, '99, and 2000. I thought maybe I had lost my mojo. Maybe I had only been lucky. Maybe it had all been a fluke and I must now rest on my laurels and accept the fact that I was a has-been. Fortunately, for both me and my self-esteem, things picked back up and I sold several manuscripts last year. My mojo is intact.

Editors often say they don't want books in rhyme, yet you're known for your skill in this area. How do you go about writing a story in rhyme? What are the considerations? What are the challenges?

This is a whole discussion in and of itself. I have a talk on rhyme that takes about an hour, so it is a subject I can go on and on about.

But in a nutshell, not every book should rhyme. Not every writer should use rhyme. In unskilled hands, rhyme is not a pretty thing. People who write gorgeous prose have been known to mutilate meter. Friends don't let friends write bad rhyme.

I'm afraid the reason we hear so many negative things about rhyming books from publishers is because they have seen the worst of the worse.

If you can't, don't.

What can your fans expect next?

I have fans!?

Cool.

Newly released is Hokey Pokey: Another Prickly Love Story illustrated by Janie Bynum. This is the sequel to Porcupining, one of my most popular books. Cushion and Barb are still in the petting zoo and Cushion is still clueless and hilarious. Oh, and he also has a new song in this book.

Next up is Invasion Of The Pig Sisters, the 4th Fitch & Chip title. This will be released in hardback and soft-cover simultaneously. In this book, Chip and Fitch share the joys and pains of younger siblings.

On April 1st, Mammoths On the Move is released (see above) and then in June is Castaway Cats, illustrated by Ponder Goembel. This is the third book Ponder and I have done together. The first two won various awards and I am hoping this book, which I describe as Cats meets Survivor, will be no exception. Ponder is an amazing talent.

That's it for 2006, but 2007 will bring a few more titles. Maybe you can ask me back then. This has been fun.

Cynsational Notes

Debbi Michiko Florence also offers a new author interview with Lisa Wheeler and another with author Vivian Vande Velde. See also her review of Rules by Cynthia Lord (Scholastic, 2006), which I've just read myself and agree is fantastic.

See more author interviews, and check out my picture books bibliography. Note continuing pages in the sidebar.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Edge of The Forest: A Children's Literature Monthly

The Edge of The Forest: A Children's Literature Monthly, volume 1, issue 1, debuts February 2006. Under the guidance of editor/webmaster, Kelly Herold of Big A little a, this new online magazine will seek to publish on the 15th of each month.

The editorial board is comprised of: Liz Burns of A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy, contributor to Pop Goes The Library; Michele Fry of Scholar's Blog; Anne Boles Levy of book buds; Camille Powell of Bookmoot; and Susan Thomsen of Chicken Spaghetti. See also submissions and advertising information.

The debut issue features include: "Black History Month Roundup" and "Top 10 Picture Books of 2005," both by Anne Boles Levy of book buds; "An Interview with Sue Halpern" by Kelly Herold of Big A little a.

Additional highlights include: reviews of picture books, middle grade fiction; non-fiction; young adult; and fantasy; Best of the Blogs; and Kid Picks.

I'm also honored to announce that Kelly Herold interviewed me as the "Blogging Writer."

Congratulations to Kelly and her board on the launch, and thanks to all of them for this wonderful contribution to our online children's/YA literature community!

Cynsational News & Links

In The Break by Jack Lopez (Little Brown, 2006): a recommendation from Greg Leitich Smith.

Judging for the [SCBWI] Golden Kite Fiction Award by Uma Krishnaswami (author interview) from Writing with a Broken Tusk. Congratulations to winner Mary E. Pearson for A Room On Lorelei Street (Henry Holt, 2005)(author interview)(recommendation) and honor winner Deborah Wiles for Each Little Bird That Sings (Harcourt, 2005)(recommendation). Incidentally, both Golden Kite honorees also were named among my Cynsational Books for 2005.

Look for "David Lubar: A Passion for Stories: An Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith" in the winter 2006 issue of YALS: Young Adult Library Services, the official journal of YALSA. See also my recent Cynsations interview with David Lubar.
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