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Cynsational News & Giveaways


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Conkling, Toniuh Co-winners of the Thomás Rivera Book Award from Texas State University. Peek: "Winifred Conkling’s Sylvia and Aki (Tricycle), and Duncan Tonatiuh’s Diego Rivera: His World and Ours (Abrams), have been named the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award recipients for works published in 2010-2011. The award, established at Texas State University-San Marcos in 1995, is designed to encourage authors, illustrators and publishers to produce books that authentically reflect the lives of Mexican American children and young adults in the United States." Read a Cynsations interview with Winifred.

Experience is Important for Writers by Elizabeth S. Craig from Mystery Writing Is Murder. Peek: "What I think practice and experience gets you are personal strategies for advancing a story and the confidence to complete one."

What Makes a Good Picture Book App? by Katie Bircher from The Horn Book. Peek: "What distinguishes a picture book app from a traditional picture book or an e-book is the integration of interactive elements. But these should be used wisely, as too much interactivity can overwhelm or distract from the narrative."

Children's Picture Books about Gardening by Elizabeth Kennedy from About.com. Peek: "These children's picture books about gardens and gardening celebrate the joys of planting seeds and bulbs, cultivating a garden, and enjoying the flowers and vegetables that result."

The Writer's Life is Full of Second Chances (or: Abandon Despair, All Ye Who Enter Here) by R.L. LaFevers from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Sometimes, when you have nothing left to lose is when you finally have the courage to stop holding back." Note: required reading.

2012 Green Earth Book Awards from the Newton Marasco Foundation. The winners are Arthur Turns Green by Marc Brown (Little, Brown)(picture book); The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth, illustrated by Susan L. Roth (Lee & Low)(children's nonfiction); Wild Wings by Gill Lewis, illustrated by Yuta Onoda (Atheneum)(children's fiction); and Gaia Warriors by Nicola Davies, illustrated by James Lovelock (Candlewick)(YA nonfiction). See honor books.

Character Trait Entry: Brave by Angela Ackerman from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: "Brave characters are often viewed as heroic and are willing to face hardship and danger because it is 'the right thing to do'."

On Fear and Beginnings by Leila Austin from YA Highway. Peek: "The shininess! Did I mention the shininess? But there are also lots of things which are less good and more, well, terrifying."

Open Letter to the Overwhelmed Writer Who Just Learned of a Parent's Illness by Jan O'Hara from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "I hope you know that’s what you’re experiencing at first: simple, honest grief."

Congratulations to Donna Bowman Bratton on signing with Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency, and congratulations to Erin on signing Donna!

Q&A with author Kate DiCamillo from JSOnline. Peek: "You can coax a character out but you can't shove him from behind or make him move around. They have to be their own people."

CBC Book Shop: Rachel's Video Round-up of Titanic Books from The Children's Book Council. Note: highly entertaining.

Little, Brown Editor Connie Hsu: How I Got Into Publishing from CBC Diversity. Peek: "I knew I wanted something that had permanence, that I wanted to create, and that I loved children and their quick, clever little minds."

Macmillan Children's (U.K.) Launches Literary Prize by Tom Tivnan from The Bookseller. Peek: "...a £10,000 literary prize to be judged by independent booksellers and their customers. Write Now! is aimed at unpublished fiction authors, who can win the
chance to be published by Macmillan Children’s Books, as well as the cash prize." See link for details. Source: Achockablog.

Guys Lit Wire is Hosting a Book Drive for the Ballou High School Library in Washington, D.C.

The Bumpy, Twisty, Pot-hole Ridden Journey to My New Agent from Donna Bowman Bratton. Peek: "It doesn't seem fitting to simply say that I've got an agent. Sometimes
the journey is as sweet as the destination. The highlights of mine went something like this..."

Congratulations Texas Institute of Letters Award winners Elaine Scott for Space, Stars and The Beginning of Time: What the Hubble Telescope Saw (Clarion, 2011) and J.L. Powers for This Thing Called the Future (Cinco Puntos, 2011).

The Breaking Point (and Beyond) by Carolyn Kaufman from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: "Going There is what intrigues me. Not what happens when the hero gets there in the nick of time, but when the worst the hero can possibly imagine happens."

From Hunger Mountain: a VCFA Journal of the Arts

Cynsational Giveaways

Last call! Enter to win one of two Robot Zombie Frankenstein! prize packages.

Each includes: a signed book, plus build-a-bot foam stickers, robot chest panel iron-ons, and other kid-sized story-related bling: a Robot Zombie Frankenstein mini-notebook; a Robot Zombie Frankenstein pirate hat, eye patch and hook; a Robot Zombie Frankenstein pirate superhero-in-disguise disguise; Robot Zombie Frankenstein pirate superhero-in-disguise outer space invader glow-in-the-dark stars; and a Robot Zombie Frankenstein pirate superhero-in-disguise outer space invader chef hat and apron.

To enter, comment on this post (click previous link and scroll) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or you can email Cynthia directly with "Robot Zombie Frankenstein!" in the subject line. Author-illustrator sponsored. Eligibility: U.S./Canada. Deadline: 11:59 CST April 23.

Note: Robot Zombie Frankenstein by Annette Simon (Candlewick, 2012) is a spring Indiebound Kids' Next Pick.

Enter to win a signed, personalized copy of Puzzled by Pink by Sarah Frances Hardy (Viking, 2012). To enter, comment on this post (click previous link and scroll) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Author-sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. Deadline: midnight CST May 2. Note: Plan your own Puzzled by Pink Birthday Party, featuring party plans, tips, crafts, activities, printable invitation and more!

The winner of Angel Burn and Angel Fire, both by L.A. Weatherly (Candlewick, 2012) was Keisha in Ontario, Canada.

The winner of a signed copy of A Million Suns by Beth Revis (Razorbill, 2012) was Stephanie in Wisconsin.

For more children's book giveaways, visit Fish for a Free Book from Lori Calabrese and Full to the Brim from Brimful Curiosities,

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

My TLA conference report is still forthcoming, but I greatly enjoyed seeing "The Hunger Games" at the iPic Theater at the Domain (yes, for the irony) Friday night in north Austin. I found the movie largely true to the spirit of the book and those changes that were made seemed fitting, or at least necessary for age-level ratings, given film as the new storytelling medium.

Bigger, Riskier Things: A Visit with Cynthia Leitich Smith by Rebecca Donnelly from The Chained Library. Peek: "Early performance is not necessarily a predictor of eventual success: Cynthia mentioned getting a lot of ribbons for participation in poetry as a child."

Personal Links:
From Greg Leitich Smith:

The Timeless Draw of Dinosaurs and Space from the International Reading Association. Peek: "Perhaps it seems ironic that reading about creatures of the past and futuristic technology should be two of the biggest sources to inspire young minds toward science. But I think that what connects both is a sense of wonder that can be nurtured through the pages of books."

Cynsational Events

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will appear at A Festival of Authors, in celebration of 100 Years of School Libraries in Austin, which will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 12 at Reagan High School in Northeast Austin.


Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will appear June 30 at Bastop Public Library in Bastrop, Texas.

Interested in taking a class with Cynthia this summer?


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about me & cynsations

Cynthia is a New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author of fiction for young readers. Graphic novelist. Fond of cats, comics, and cocoa.

Cynsations is a source for conversations, publishing information, literacy and free speech advocacy, writer resources, inspiration, news in children's and teen literature, and author outreach.

Note: via various means and mirror sites, Cynsations has about 6,000 regular subscribers and averages 80,000 page views a month.

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