Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cynsational News & Links

While supplies last, Cynsational readers are welcome to request a signed and/or personalized book plate(s) for Santa Knows by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, illustrated by Steve Bjorkman (or any of my other books). Just be sure to include the title, your address, any personalization information, and note "Santa Knows" in the subject line.

More News & Links

AsianParent.com: online retailer offers "a large selection of Chinese children's books, DVDs, and educational products." Includes "Chinese Nursery Rhymes for babies, Chinese bedtime stories, Chinese classics, Chinese workbooks/activity books, bilingual books in both Chinese and English, as well as books with audio CDs and VCDs in Mandarin Chinese." Also offers Chinese DVDs for Children.

Don't miss Trash by Sharon Darrow (Candlewick, 2006). SLJ says: "Readers will appreciate the characters' search for identity and efforts to find beauty in places not obvious." PW cheers: "Amid gritty free verse, Darrow interweaves beautifully crafted forms such as the villanelle, sestina and pantoum, whose intricate patterns suit Sissy's mournful voice." And KLIATT sums it up as: "Excellent poetry, poignant story." Read a Cynsations interview with Sharon.

Entries are now being accepted for the The June Franklin Naylor Award for the Best Book for Children on Texas History. "The book must have been published for the first time within the calendar year, January-December of 2006. The exception to this rule is the reprint of an early book for children that is annotated or revised to make its story accessible to today's students." See 2006 general guidelines. See information on the 2005 winners, author Anne Bustard and illustrator Kurt Cyrus for Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly (Simon & Schuster, 2005) and honor recipients, including author Kathi Appelt and illustrator Joy Fisher Hein for Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America (HarperCollins, 2005).

Trend Spotting: Sea Dogs: An Epic Ocean Operetta by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Marc Siegel (Atheneum, 2004) was spotted on prominent display under "new books" at Dragon's Lair in Austin, Texas. Good news for older-reader picture books and literary trade in graphic novel format.

Young Adult Author Darlene Ryan: official author site features articles, children's poetry, biography, newsletter and more. Darlene's books include Rules for Life (Orca, 2004) and Saving Grace (Orca, 2006).

Monday, November 06, 2006

Author Interview: Don Mitchell on Liftoff: A Photobiography of John Glenn

Don Mitchell's first book for young people is Liftoff: A Photobiography of John Glenn (National Geographic, 2006).

Don Mitchell on Don Mitchell: "I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and raised in Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, and California. My father's career in marketing and sales in the automotive aftermarket kept our family moving around the country. I graduated from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and received a Master's Degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. I have worked for more than 22 years in the federal government, serving in the U.S. Senate as well as in the White House on the staff of the National Security Council. I live in Arlington, Virginia with my wife Grace, and our children Logan Adlai (age 4) and Ella Ruth (age 2)."

What about the writing life first called to you?

For as long as I can remember, I've loved to read. I've also always loved to write and thought that being a writer would be a great career. After having written for others over the years, I thought it would be gratifying to write for publication under my own name.

What made you decide to write for young readers?

Books had a great impact on me as a child, not just as part of my education, but also as a source of entertainment as well as inspiration. I've always enjoyed browsing at book stores, and often find myself drawn to the children's book section. Examining the latest children's books brings back happy memories of the books I read as a young person.

As I became increasingly motivated over the last several years to write for publication, I thought more about writing for young readers. After my son was born, my wife and I became immersed in children's literature, checking out many books from the local library and purchasing a fair number of books as well. We both enjoy reading to our children, and more importantly, they enjoy it. Writing for young people just evolved into a natural goal. To know that something you have written for a young person has the potential of making a positive impact on them at such a formative time in their life is an exciting idea to me.

Congratulations on the publication of Liftoff: A Photobiography of John Glenn (National Geographic, 2006)! What was your initial inspiration for writing this book?

Thanks. Like many others, I was an avid reader when I was growing up of the National Geographic magazine, and other publications from the National Geographic Society. Several years ago, when I was making an effort to write for publication, I came across National Geographic's impressive photobiography series for young people. I had worked for John Glenn in his Washington, D.C. office for the final 15 years of his 24 years in the U.S. Senate, and I thought he would be a logical subject to propose adding to the series.

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

The books in the National Geographic photobiography series for young people follow a standard format. I drafted about 10 pages of a manuscript on John Glenn following that format and sent it off to National Geographic in August 2002. After several months, I heard back that it just wasn't what they were looking for at that time. While I was disappointed in that response, which I assume is fairly common in the publishing business, I sent the manuscript to other publishing firms. While I received some encouraging comments, I was unable to find anyone interested in publishing the book I was proposing.

Then, out of the blue, on February 15, 2005 (not that I remember any details, mind you), I came home from work to find both a phone message and an e-mail message waiting for me from National Geographic editor Suzanne Patrick Fonda. She stated that, if I hadn't sold the manuscript to another publisher and was still interested in publishing the work, National Geographic "would like to move forward with it at a rather rapid pace!" After carefully considering the matter for a nanosecond, I enthusiastically accepted the offer.

I really enjoyed working with the team of people who were involved in producing the book, and I was fortunate to have such a great experience as a first-time author at National Geographic. I live close to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., so I was able to participate in some of the meetings where decisions were made about layout and the choice of images to be included in the book. I was grateful that my views were welcome and that I was given the opportunity to provide input into the process, even in areas outside my lane. It was a great learning experience and a lot of fun.

There was a professional and collegial atmosphere at National Geographic and I always felt that everyone on the project team was pulling in the same direction: Nancy Laties Feresten, Vice President, and Editor-in-Chief of Children’s Books; Marty Ittner, who designed the book; Janet Dustin, Illustrations Editor; Art Director David Seager; and Lori Epstein, to name just a few.

I was particularly fortunate to have Suzanne Patrick Fonda as the Project Editor for my book. Suzanne is a meticulous editor with a fine eye for detail. Always polite, responsive and patient with a rookie writer, her suggestions on the text invariably made it better. What more could you ask for?

Writing on evenings and weekends--and fortunate to have an extremely supportive and understanding spouse, I delivered the completed draft in several months. Then, it was a series of rewrites leading to the book being completed in early December 2005. I had a copy of the book in my hands in early 2006, and the book was released on September 12, 2006.

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

While I did a lot of research for this book, I was fortunate in not having to worry about the primary challenge for a biographer--getting to know the subject. Having worked for John Glenn for 15 years in the U.S. Senate, I had a great vantage point for observing who he is as a person and what he stands for. I'm quite comfortable with my interpretation of John Glenn's life as embodied in this book. And my experience and observations are integrated throughout the book.

For example, when the shuttle Challenger exploded after liftoff in January 1986 killing all seven astronauts on board, President Reagan asked Senator Glenn to attend the memorial service for the astronauts in Houston, Texas, and help comfort their families.

When he returned from Houston, Senator Glenn summoned all of us on his staff to his office to share his impressions of the service. He talked about how sad it was to comfort the grieving family members, and how dangerous it can be serving your nation. And he recalled how difficult it was to talk to his own children before his flight in Friendship 7 and prepare them for the possibility that he might not survive the mission.

When he described the "missing man" aerial formation of jet fighters at the memorial service, which is performed as a tribute to those who die in service to the nation, Senator Glenn got emotional--something I had never witnessed before or since.

He looked at the staff and counseled us: "If you ever have an opportunity to do something bigger than yourself, seize the opportunity."

Some time after that, a friend and Glenn staff colleague made the decision to donate his kidney to his brother to save his brother's life. Senator Glenn's admonishment was on his mind as he made that decision. That inspirational call to duty and service was a theme throughout the book as it's been throughout John Glenn’s life.

In another example, years ago I had watched an old re-run on television of Jimmy Stewart starring as aviator Charles Lindbergh in the film "The Spirit of St. Louis." I asked Senator Glenn the next day in the office if he'd ever met Lindbergh. To my surprise, not only had he met Charles Lindbergh as a young Marine pilot, but Senator Glenn flew several combat missions with Lindbergh in the Pacific theater of operations during World War II. That anecdote found its way into the book as well.

Senator Glenn was also quite generous in taking the time from his hectic schedule (he turned 85 years old this year) to not only write the Foreword to the book, but also to help me clarify the facts of his life story.

What advice do you have for beginning writers?

As a beginning children's author who has just recently had my first book published, my advice should be taken with a grain of salt. But I think, first and foremost, it's essential to read good writing. And it's important to read as widely as you can, particularly in the area you'd like to write about (e.g., history, biography, fantasy, science fiction, nature).

As a general proposition, I don't think you can do better than to read the works of E.B. White--and not just his classic work, The Elements of Style (with William Strunk, Jr.), and his classics for children: Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan. His essays and correspondence are true gems--witty, insightful, and beautifully written (e.g., "One Man's Meat," "The Second Tree from the Corner," "Poems and Sketches of E.B. White," and "Letters of E.B. White"). E.B. White sets a high standard for writing worth emulating.

Second, make a commitment to writing and get in the habit of writing--and rewriting--as regularly as you can. You’re always likely to do better at something the more you practice.

How about those authors building a career?

In addition to the above suggestions, if you aspire to write for young people, I think it's essential to become a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). I've found it to be an invaluable source of information about children's literature and the publishing world. Participate in your regional chapter's activities. Also, visit the websites of children's authors and websites devoted to literature for young people, like Cynsations, for useful advice on the writing life and inspiration. If you want a career as a writer, work diligently to produce the kind of writing that you value reading. And don't give up in the face of the inevitable rejections from agents and publishers. Persistence is the key to success in any endeavor.

What about biographers and/or those interested in creative non-fiction specifically?

As someone who loves history, I've always enjoyed reading biographies of historical figures, which to me have always made history come alive. It's interesting to see how prominent individuals shaped, and were shaped by, their times. Biographies geared to adult readers are often voluminous. But the best biographies are more than just an endless recitation of chronological facts; they're an interpretation of that life-- what made that individual distinctive, and what motivated them to accomplish what they did in life.

Writing biographies for young people poses an additional challenge. The writer must present the subject's life as fully and fairly as possible, but must usually do so within fairly constrained word limitations. You have to be able to choose from a wide array of facts about the subject's life and select the most important information to convey the essence of the person's life. Being able to compress this data into a compelling narrative takes practice. Again, reading great biographies is helpful preparation for writing biographies. And read biographies geared for young people by wonderful writers like Russell Freedman.

I'm an avid reader of obituaries, which distill the essence of a person's life into a relatively few paragraphs. They're a great way to learn the biographer's art of compression. I think the best obituaries are published in The Times of London, which you can read online.

What do you do when you're not writing?

I'm fortunate to live in the Washington, D.C. area which offers so many family-friendly activities, many of them free. I like to spend time with my wife and children, exploring new places, taking long walks, visiting museums, the zoo, and local parks, and reading as much as I can.

What can your fans look forward to next?

I am currently working on a photobiography of Henry Ford for National Geographic, which is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2007.

Cynsational Notes

Liftoff: A Photobiography of John Glenn by Don Mitchell, foreward by John Glenn (National Geographic, 2006). From the promotional copy: "War hero, test pilot, American astronaut, and U.S. Senator--for John Glenn, serving his country has always been a joyous adventure. This superbly illustrated book follows the life trajectory of a very focused, highly competitive man, driven by a sense of duty to his country and an innate sense of obligation towards others. Readers will find themselves inspired to 'liftoff' to new heights of achievement."

"It’s almost difficult to read in this day and age when messages are of fear, instead of hope and progress. Nonetheless, it’s a powerful message that will resonate with some young readers. Don Mitchell’s text is both straightforward and inspiring." -- The Edge of the Forest, A Children’s Literature Monthly, September 2006.

Read a Cynsations interview with Editor Nancy Feresten of National Geographic.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cynsational News & Links

How exciting to see Santa Knows (Dutton, 2006) included among "Holiday High Notes" ("best new books of seasonal interest") at the Horn Book Magazine! Praise includes "neatly structured" and readers are urged to "check out Alfie's anti-Santa PJs." You'll also find the title and authors' blogs highlighted at Horn Book's Web Watch with a warning: "Grinches beware!"

In other news, Greg and I had the honor of keynoting at the Fifth Annual Fall Literacy Conference, "Reading and Writing: Not an English Thing, but an Everything!" ("Literacy is the common thread that connects all learning.") on Nov. 4 at Angelo State University. Special thanks to Dr. John Miazga, dean of the College of Education, Dr. Cheryl Hines, director of reading programs, and Selina Jackson, co-director of Pearl of the Concho Writing Project, which is affiliated with the National Writing Project. Read a complete report on Spookycyn.

More News & Links

Children's Book Reviews by Bob Sibert from Bound to Stay Bound. Offers an overview of the history, scope, and approach of the major review sources.

"Rising Star: Lenore Look" by April Spisak from the Bulletin of the Center of Children's Books. Look's titles include: Love as Strong as Ginger (Atheneum, 1999); Henry's First-Moon Birthday (Atheneum, 2001); Ruby Lu, Brave and True (Atheneum, 2004); Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything (Atheneum, 2006); and Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding (Atheneum, 2006). See also "Living in the City: An Urban Life Dozen" selected by Cindy Welch from BCCB.

Writing Across Genres with Tanya Lee Stone: a chat transcript from the Institute of Children's Literature. Read a Cynsations interview with Tanya.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Cynsational News & Links

Wee Ones magazine praises the Santa Knows. (Dutton, 2006) for the "bright illustrations," "comical and expressive faces," and calls it a "sweet story." Read the whole review.

Also Wee Ones is sponsoring a book giveaway (scroll for info)! Enter the contest to win a Christmas collection of books--Santa Knows, My Tiny Book of Christmas, Christmas Turtles and Christmas in the Candle Factory.

What's more, Santa Knows (Dutton, 2006) is a "cute takeoff on the Grinch story," according to Nancy Williams at MyShelf.com. She adds, "With great color illustrations by Steve Bjorkman, your children will love this story." Read the whole review.

Thanks to Andrew at red-hot, smokin' Flux for highlighting my recent interview with Christine Kole MacLean on How It's Done (Flux, 2006) and his kind words about me, this blog, and my home town YA scene: "...am I the only one who thinks that Cynthia is the Gertrude Stein of Austin, Texas, which is the new Paris for YA authors?" To learn more about my local YA writing community, visit: Lila Guzman, Varian Johnson, April Lurie, Ruth Pennebaker, Greg Leitich Smith, Jo Whittemore, Lori Aurelia Williams, Brian Yansky, and Jennifer Ziegler. Plus, Libba Bray, Alex Sanchez, and Rob Thomas are one-time residents. Visit Austin SCBWI and learn more about Texas authors. See also Forthcoming (2007) YA Novels by Texas Authors: A Preview from GregLSBlog. Note: Varian will be on board shortly thereafter in '08, and I'm not sure when Libba's third installment of her gothic fantasy historical will be released, but I'm guessing soon, too.

Thanks also to Laurie Halse Anderson over at Mad Woman in the Forest for the shout out and linkage about the cover art placement of my Indian Shoes (HarperCollins, 2002) and Greg Leitich Smith's Tofu and T. rex (Little Brown, 2005) on the cover of the Fall 2006 ALAN Review. Laurie mentions that she has an article in that issue, so don't miss it and check out all of her news!

More News & Links

"Jennifer DiChiara Makes Dreams Come True": an interview by Angela Miyuki Mackintosh from WOW! Women on Writing.

"Cohn and Levithan Team Write Entirely by E-Mail": An Exclusive Authorlink Interview with Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, authors of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (Knopf) by Susan VanHecke of Authorlink. November 2006

In the category of author/illustrator/storyteller, U.S. nominees for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2007 are: Russell Hoban, Maira Kalman, Peter Sis and Gary Soto. The Swedish government founded this international prize in Astrid Lindgren's name to honor her memory and promote children's literature. The award, of five million Swedish crowns, is the largest for children’s literature and the second-largest literature prize in the world. In total, 133 candidates from 52 countries have been nominated; 104 in the category of author/illustrator/storyteller. The winner will be announced in March 2007. Katherine Paterson won the award in 2006.

2006 NYPL Books for the Teen Age from TeensReadToo. Highlights include: Airball: My Life in Briefs by L.D. Harkrader (Roaring Brook, 2005)(author interview); Memories of the Sun: Stories of Africa and America by Jane Kurtz (Amistad, 2003)(author interview); Margaret Bourke White by Susan Goldman Rubin (Abrams, 1999)(author interview); and When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park (Yearling, 2004)(author interview).

Eighth Carnival of Children's Literature: Halloween from Scholar's Blog. Note: Cynsations is a proud participant in the carnival.

Hale's Unlikely Heroes Resonate with Readers of All Ages: an interview with author Shannon Hale by Dee Ann Grand of BookPage.

KidStuff on Martha Stewart Living Radio: "The Children's Book Council is pleased to sponsor the children's book segment on "KidStuff" on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Sirius 112."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Agent Interview: Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger Inc.

Sara Crowe joined Harvey Klinger Inc. after two years at Trident Media Group as Foreign Rights Agent selling rights for Russell Banks, Michael Ondaatje, and Louis Sachar, among others. She began her publishing career at the Wylie Agency in New York and also worked in Wylie's London office. She ran away to Ireland once and worked for a publisher there as an editorial assistant. She represents a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, as well as young adult and middle-grade fiction and non-fiction. She is currently not accepting unsolicited picture book submissions.

What inspired you to become a literary agent?

I didn't know a thing about agents, but put my resume in a box at the publishing course and was hired by The Wylie Agency and pleasantly surprised. Though of course there are many more business tasks sometimes than there is reading--it still often seems like I dreamed up the job.
Wylie's client list was inspiring, and I loved it from the start. I am grateful that my days, though often very late and busy, are so varied.

How long have you been agenting?

I've been in the business for eight years, up until two years ago in foreign rights, though I spent one of those at a publishing house in Dublin.

Would you describe yourself as an "editorial agent"--one who comments on manuscripts or one who concentrates more exclusively on publishing issues? Why?

Some authors send me material only after many drafts--following careful reads from their critique groups, spouses, favorite readers. Some like me to see earlier drafts--and often I am involved from the synopsis stage. I think it's important to send the most polished manuscript possible to editors, and so I always read carefully before submitting anything.

Why should unagented authors/writers consider working with an agent?

I like to think that we act as passionate advocates for an author's work, and that we play an important role, not always just in terms of securing the best deal, but in being there to support the author for the whole process. We also, I think, allow the author to have an editorial relationship with their editor that isn't hindered by business issues.

My time at Wylie taught me to look at the big picture and to always consider the author's whole career with every move, and I think we provide important strategies to that end. I also think agents are often more aggressive in selling film and foreign rights.

What questions should a writer have answered before signing with an agent?

They should be clear on the commission structures of the agency, expenses, etc., so that there isn't any confusion down the line. Does the agent actively pursue audio, foreign and film rights? Have they sold titles like yours?

I think another important question is to make sure the agent's communication preferences work for you.

Most of my clients wrote to my other clients to ask about me first, and I think that is one of the best ways to get the whole picture.

I'm very grateful, however, to my first clients who let me work with them without being able to ask anyone!

In terms of markets (children's, YA, adult, fiction, non-fiction, genres, novels, chapter books, ERs, picture books), what sorts of manuscripts appeal to you?

I work with all types of children's books, though am not presently looking for picture books. I look for a strong, original voice and tend to respond to literary, quirky books. I am always looking for books for boys, too--especially young adult books. I don't work with much straight fantasy, though its not a strict rule. I do like books with many layers, though, and often that means a fantastical or magical element.

Do you work with author-illustrators and/or illustrators?

I work with author/illustrators, but I don't think I have the contacts and knowledge to work with illustrators.

Are you accepting unsolicited submissions? What is the best way for prospective clients to make contact with you?

I prefer email queries to sara@harveyklinger.com. I try to respond to queries within three weeks--though I know I've faltered in the past! Am working on it!

Do you have any particular submission preferences or pet peeves?

People often send queries to all of the agents here--even though it says not to on our website, and that is ineffective --we won't look. I also ignore group queries, or those that don't address me by the correct name. I don't like queries that are not spell checked or have terrible grammar. It makes me not want to request and read many pages of bad spelling and grammar, and I think it makes it seem like you aren't sincere when you don't take the time to be careful.

How much contact do you have with your clients? Just business emails? Phone dates? Retreats? What kind of relationship are you looking to build and why?

It can vary--for instance if there isn't much going on for a particular book--or if the author is off revising/writing, sometimes we don't talk for a while. I do try to be in touch pretty often--at least by email--and I hope that I make myself available to my authors should they call me.

Sometimes it takes a day or so to call back or to schedule a call. I love meeting my authors-- though some are far away and that hasn't happened yet. I would love to host a retreat someday!

When you spoke at the Austin SCBWI Fall 2006 conference, you mentioned that YA "keeps getting older." Could you offer us more of your insights into this evolving category?

The category is splitting--that there is young adult, both contemporary and fantasy, that is crossing over to the adult market, which I think is a great thing, as I know I read and enjoy so much young adult.

And there is some young adult that now seems younger because of how old young adult is going overall. I think these books are younger due to content and how the content is handled. Much of what I respond to in young adult is still the 12 and up bracket, and I think that there is a space for it still.

There are readers who want to read past middle grades but who don't want edgy or overly sexy. It is so challenging to write about teenagers without over-dramatizing the issues, and that, when it's done well, is so good.

What are the greatest challenges of being an agent?

I think its the same as the challenge for my writers--accepting rejection. I hate it almost as much as they do, because I believe so fully in every book I take on, and I feel so close to the books. Also, as each authors work is so incredibly important to them--and there is only one of me--it can be a challenge to make sure everyone is and feels looked after.

What do you love about it?

I guess that would be sort of the same answer as above--because it is such a great feeling to feel so close to the books you champion and to see them succeed. I feel so lucky to be a part of it. I think for all of us in this field--editors, agents, writers-- it is always exciting, even when it is difficult. I'm so proud of my list--and that almost all of it is debut books and that I'll get to work with these authors on many more books.

Would you like to highlight a few of your clients and/or their recent titles?

Karen Halvorsen Schreck's Dream Journal (Hyperion 2006)(author interview) was published in September and is getting some lovely reviews. Erin Vincent's young adult memoir, Grief Girl will be published in March 2007 by Delacorte and is a completely inspiring, and very off-beat, true tale of Erin's losing her parents at fourteen and how she gets through it all.

Elizabeth Holmes's middle grade debut, Pretty Is (Dutton), is also out in March and is about a girl who fears starting middle school with her unpopular older sister--not only does Erin fear the discovery that they are related--but that she might be like her sister in some awful, inevitable way.

Brian Yansky's second young adult novel, The Wonders of the World, mixes the bizarre and the ordinary in the way Brian does so well to completely encapsulate adolescence, will be published by Flux in July 07, and Kristen Tracy's debut Lost It, a quirky, extremely funny, take on the subject of virginity, using Ethan Frome as a model, comes out in June 07 from Simon Pulse.

Jacqueline Kolosov's The Red Queen's Daughter will be published in fall 2007 by Hyperion and will appeal to fans of Libba Bray--and of the adult title The Other Boleyn Girl.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Author Tanya Lee Stone To Chat on "Writing Across Genres" Online at ICL

Join author Tanya Lee Stone Nov. 2 for an online chat on "Writing Across Genres" with the Institute of Children's Literature. Times are 9 to 11 p.m. Atlantic/Canada; 8 to 10 p.m. Eastern; 7 to 9 p.m. Central; 6 to 8 p.m. Mountain; or 5 to 7 p.m. Pacific. Log in here!

Need help? See "I Want to Chat: Tell Me How" by Jan Fields from the Institute of Children's Literature; see also the ICL chat schedule.

Read a Cynsations interview with Tanya.

Cynsational News & Links

Kirkus cheers my new picture book, Santa Knows (Dutton, 2006): "The transformation of a nonbeliever on Christmas Eve is an old story, but Alfie F. Snorklepuss is a newly minted winner."

Speaking of Santa Knows, it's not every day I hear as delightful a reader story as the one featured of late at One Over-Caffeinated Mom: Kim's Reading and Writing Home. Thanks for sharing, Kim!

Read about the Jingle Dancer puppet show from Liz B. at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy.

Currently reading: Blind Faith by Ellen Wittlinger (Simon & Schuster, 2006)(excerpt). Read a Cynsations interview with Ellen. See also a review of Blind Faith by Kristi Olson at Teenreads.com.

More News & Links

The 2006 ALAN Award has been awarded to both author/editor Marc Aronson and scholar/author Virginia Monseau. Read a Cynsations interview with Marc.

The Broken Tusk: Stories of the Hindu God Ganesha by Uma Krishnaswami (Linnet, 1996) is now available from August House in paperback. Read a Cynsations interview with Uma.

Children's Librarians Recommend Books for the Holidays from VLA Blogs. "The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has created a list of new books recommended for holiday gift-giving, as well as reading about the holidays themselves."

Congratulations to Maureen Doyle McQuerry on the the publication of Wolf Proof (Idyllis, 2006). Scroll to read related interview.

Congratulations also to the following authors on their November releases: Alma Fullerton, author of In the Garage (Red Deer, 2006); Natalie Standiford, author of Dating Game #6: Parallel Parking (Little Brown, 2006); and Lola Douglas, author of More Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet (Razorbill, 2006)(note that True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet is available in paperback).

"Book Proposals with Terry Whalin:" a chat transcript from the Institute of Children's Literature.

GregLS Blog is now syndicated on LiveJournal. Greg is the author of Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo (Little Brown, 2003, 2005), Tofu and T. rex (Little Brown, 2005), and the co-author of Santa Knows (Dutton, 2006). See also Greg's website.

Library Community Comes Together to Build Bridges: More than 1,100 attend First Joint Conference of Librarians of Color from VLA Blog.

Thanks to author Helen Hemphill (author interview) for sending me a copy of the latest cover of The ALAN Review, which features the cover art to: Indian Shoes by Cynthia Leitich Smith (HarperCollins, 2002); Tofu and T. rex by Greg Leitich Smith (Little Brown, 2005); Bone: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books, 1996); Dateline: Troy by Paul Fleishman, illustrated by Gwen Frankfeldt and Glenn Morrow (Candlewick, 2006)(inside spread); Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan (Delacorte, 2004); The Telling Pool by David Clement-Davies (Abrams, 2005); A Boy No More by Harry Mazer (Simon & Schuster, 2004)(author interview); Somebody's Daughter by Marie Myung-Ok Lee (Beacon Press, 2005); and Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs (HarperCollins, 2006).

Surf over to Spookycyn where I'm blogging of late about writing my newest gothic fantasy YA manuscript, Halloween, and the Texas Book Festival.

See also Jo Whittemore's TBF report and her Austin SCBWI Fall Conference notes. Read a recent Cynsations interview with Jo. Happy Birthday, Jo!
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