Friday, September 22, 2017

Cynsational News

By Cynthia Leitich Smith & Gayleen Rabakukk
for Cynsations

Author Interviews

Q&A with Tracey Baptiste by Sara Grochowski from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "I decided to make the setting a generalized Caribbean island because I wanted to have a lot of Trinidadian influences and wanted to embrace the islands as a whole. So anyone reading it from the Caribbean could read it as their native."

A Conversation with Cynthia and Sanford Levinson from Peachtree Publishers. Peek: "When we started working on the book in June 2012, we actually did know that it would be timely and relevant. We just didn’t anticipate in what ways it would be timely or how interested the public would become in the Constitution."

Chris Barton talks with Paige Britt, Sean Qualls, Selina Alko from BookPeople's Blog. Peek: (from Selina) "When Sean and I first read the manuscript for Why Am I Me? we fell in love with the idea of creating a picture book asking life’s biggest questions by our littlest people. Right away we connected with the themes of empathy and wonder."

Mining Memories With Patricia MacLachlan by Julie Danielson from Kirkus Reviews. Peek: "I’ve always had a true and abiding respect for the intelligence and honesty of children. I have seen their creative teachers using books in the classroom in incredibly inventive ways. Children have 'reading buddies' from the older grades...Children read to dogs. They write books of their own."

Interview: Axie Oh, Author of Rebel Seoul by Jalissa Corrie from The Open Book at Lee & Low. Peek: "...I had read a lot of dystopias set in the west, but I hadn’t read any YA Sci-Fi books set in East Asia. I wondered what that would be like, considering how different the East is from the West in terms of ideology, history and culture." Note: Axie Oh won Lee & Low's New Visions Award for Authors of Color in 2014, submission deadline for the latest New Visions Award is Oct. 31.

Erika L. Sánchez On Unlikable WOC Protagonists & I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Shelley Diaz from School Library Journal. Peek: "It’s tough growing up bicultural. It often feels like you don’t belong anywhere. It was important for me to portray this identity because it’s a very common experience for young people, and it’s rarely depicted in mainstream literature."

Diversity

A Letter from Young Adult Readers to Latinx Writers About Race, Gender, and Other Issues by Marilisa Jiménez García from Latinxs in KidLit. Peek: "Students noted that many of the protagonists in award-winning and popular books are light-skinned Latinos, while Afro and Indigenous Latinxs characters tend to be marginalized as the supporting characters, in problematic tropes such as the servants and slave characters, and even the bullies."

Dyscalculia and ADHD: A View From the Inside by David Howard from Disability in Kidlit. Peek: "People with dyscalculia have trouble learning and understanding numbers and mathematics, as well as difficulty with spatial reasoning, telling time, and dealing with quantified information. It’s analogous to dyslexia, only relating to numbers instead of letters, and to math instead of reading."

Discuss Race, Racism & Resistance.
26 Children's Books to Support Conversations on Race, Racism & Resistance from Embrace Race. Peek: "Children’s books are one of the most effective and practical tools for initiating these critical conversations; and they can also be used to model what it means to resist and dismantle oppression."

Marketing

What’s More Important: Author Websites or Social Media? by Jane Friedman from her blog. Peek: "I may be in the tiny minority of people who happen to think social media isn’t 100% critical for an author’s online presence.....These days, I get more noticeable results from my website and blogging efforts, email newsletters, and in-person networking than I do from social media."

Phil Bildner Launches the Author Village Booking Agency by Claire Kirch from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "One of the benefits of his service, Bildner explained, is that if a requested author or illustrator is already booked, another author or illustrator can quickly be recommended to the client. 'We strongly feel that every kid deserves an experience with an author visit to their school,' Bildner said of his commitment to facilitating school visits..."

Writing Life

If You Write a Book That Nobody Reads, Are You Really a Writer? by Susan Wolfe from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "When our readership falls far short of our dreams, what if anything keeps us writing? Should we try to dial our hopes back?...If a tree falls in the forest, how many people need to hear it for the tree to have really fallen?"

Writing Insights

Say a Little Less, Mean a Little More by Kathryn Craft from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Understatement invites your reader’s active participation by leaving small gaps into which the she can insert understanding from the vast warehouse of images in her own mind."

The Writing Lesson I Never Forgot: Write with Kindness by Claudia Mills from Smack Dab in the Middle. Peek: "It's not enough to see 'through' our characters. We need to see 'into' them. We need to understand not only how they are, but why they are this way."

This Week at Cynsations


More Personally -- Cynthia


Madeline and Jessica talk about their new releases at BookPeope in Austin.
This week's highlight was the launch party for Uncertain Summer by Jessica Lee Anderson, illustrated by Jeff Crosby and The Monsters in Your Closet, edited by Madeline Smoot (both CBAY Books) at BookPeople in Austin.

Cakelustrator Akiko White's "Baby Bigfoot" cake in celebration of Jessica and Madeline's new releases; see video!
I'm taking applications for a Cynsations intern, and there are a couple of spots still available for my October humor writing workshop with Uma Krishnaswami at Highlights!

Congratulations, Métis author Cherie Dimaline, one of six finalists in the young readers' literature category for the $50,000 Kirkus Prize!

More Personally -- Gayleen

Lately my life has been a whirlwind of classes, writing and book launches. (Special shout-out to my agent sister, Jessica Lee Anderson!)

I also attended an SCBWI critique group. At first I planned to go mainly because librarian and writer Gail Shipley would be there to collect books for a Houston school library destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

As the week went on I decided why not also participate in the critique? I contacted the group's organizer, Susie Kralovansky to find out how many pages/copies to bring. I got good feedback on my manuscript, enjoyed spending time with other writers and had delicious barbecue. (Yes, the group meets at a barbecue joint! But then, this is Austin.)

Perhaps most wonderful of all, I met illustrator Judith Stanfield, who solved my looming anniversary dilemma when she said several of her lovely sketches are available as cards. You just never know what kind of awesomeness will happen when a bunch of kidlit folks get together!

Illustration by Judith Stanfield, used with permission.
Personal Links - Cynthia
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Personal Links - Gayleen



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