The Porchlight

The Porchlight is brought to you by Bethany Hegedus, Creative Director at The Writing Barn in Austin, Texas. ( Join us as we chat with authors, illustrators and other creatives in and outside of the kid-lit field.
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The Porchlight




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Now displaying: Category: literature
Jun 28, 2017
Episode 10 features Cynthia Levinson, author of We've Got a Job; Watch Out for Flying Kids: How Two Circuses, Two Countries and Nine Kids Confront Conflict and Build Community; Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can; The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Henricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist (illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton) and the forthcoming Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights and the Flaws that Affect us Today (with co-author Sanford Levinson) and Donna Janell Bowman, author of Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness (illustrated by Daniel Minter) and the forthcoming En Garde! Abraham Lincoln's Dueling Words (illustrated by S.D. Schindler) and King of the Tightrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagra (illustrated by Adam Gustavson).
Our Porchlight conversation with Cynthia and Donna explores their love of discovering true stories through research and finding fascinating hidden histories. They discuss their publishing journey, as well as how illustrations enhance the tone of picture book biographies. Focus is primarily on Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness and The Youngest Marcher; including excerpts read by the authors. Both these books focus on individuals who influenced change in the world: Doc Key helped start the humane movement and Audrey Henricks played a role in ending segregation during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Discussion of craft aspects including creative nonfiction, using direct quotes, structure, conveying emotional resonance with the characters and decisions about whether a story is best suited for a picture book or middle grade audience.

Thank you for listening. Please share your comments and thoughts on the podcast with us. Rate us on iTunesGoogle Play or Sticher—share the Porchlight with  others. And remember to retreat, create and celebrate.

Show Notes:

Jun 16, 2016

The Writing Barn is thrilled to premiere its new series

Porchlight Podcast

So much of being a writer involves talking about writing. Whether it be about the grueling process of getting the words on the page or the hardships of submissions and rejections, when we are able to talk about the successes and pitfalls of our creative careers it all begins to feel less daunting and we begin to feel part of something bigger than ourselves and our next manuscripts.

The Porchlight Podcast is centered around these kinds of conversations with authors who have been through it all. 

For episode one we are beyond excited to welcome author Donna Gephart. Join us as we talk about her new novel, her love for the humorous, and her work with children and adults of all ages. 

Her humorous/heartbreaking middle grade novels include:

1. DEATH BY TOILET PAPER -- Will Ben be able to keep a promise to his recently deceased dad and save his family from eviction, using his creativity and contest skills?
2. OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN -- Can Olivia overcome huge obstacles to achieve her dream of appearing on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!?
3. HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL -- David is famous online from his hilarious YouTube videos, but how will he ever survive middle school?
4. AS IF BEING 12-3/4 ISN'T BAD ENOUGH, MY MOTHER IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT -- won the prestigious Sid Fleischman Humor Award and the Florida State Book Award. Can spelling bee champ, Vanessa, do what's necessary to save her mom from an assassination attempt on the campaign trail?

Donna's books have won a number of awards, received starred reviews, and landed on many state reading lists.

She's a popular speaker at schools, book festivals, libraries, and conferences, including the S.C.B.W.I. National Conference, the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers' Workshop, F.A.M.E., the Conference on Children's Literature, and others.

Her newest novel, Lily and Dunkin, is a Booklist Starred Review, JLG Selection, SIBA Okra Pick, and Amazon Best of the Month Selection. The story centers around a girl dealing with gender identity issues and a boy struggling with mental illness, who come together to form an unlikely friendship.

The Writing Barn was lucky enough to host a Weekend Writing Intensive where Donna, along with ICM agent, Tina Wexler, led discussions about craft and held workshops critiquing attendee manuscripts. Pictures of that event are HERE.