Episode 203: The Art of Nonfiction Picture Books — Interview with Cynthia Grady

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing author Cynthia Grady on the show!

Cynthia has earned master’s degrees in Children’s Literature, Library Science, and the Classics. She taught elementary school in her home state of California and was a children’s librarian for seventeen years before relocating to New Mexico where she now writes books for young readers.

She is the author of a book of poetry for children and two nonfiction picture books. The latest of her picture books, Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind, is the story of Clara Breed the librarian who offered hope and comfort to Japanese American children through books during their internment in World War II.

Listen in as we talk about this beautiful book, and how the power of story can comfort and connect us.

In this episode Cynthia and I discuss:

  • Using primary sources to assemble a picture book biography.
  • How to strategically negotiate for your illustrations as an author.
  • Tips to write engaging nonfiction for young readers.
  • Tackling serious topics in picture books.
  • The benefits of productive procrastination.

Plus, Cynthia’s #1 tip for writers.

About Cynthia Grady

Cynthia Grady grew up in the Bay Area in California and taught elementary school there. She moved east for graduate school and earned a master’s degrees in Children’s Literature, Library Science, and the Classics. She was a children’s librarian for 17 years before relocating to New Mexico, where she writes, makes quilts, enjoys her pet rabbits, and is learning how to garden in the desert.

Cynthia has authored three books for children: 1 book of poetry and two nonfiction picture books, the latest of which, Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind, is now available.

To connect with Cynthia check out her website at www.cynthiagrady.com.

 

Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind

When Executive Order 9066 is enacted after the attack at Pearl Harbor, children’s librarian Clara Breed’s young Japanese American patrons are to be imprisoned in the desert. Before they are moved, Miss Breed asks the children to write her letters, and she gives them books to take with them.

Through the three years of their internment, the children correspond with Miss Breed, sharing their stories, providing feedback on books, and creating a record of their experiences during the war.

Using excerpts from children’s letters held at the Japanese American National Museum, author Cynthia Grady presents a difficult subject with honesty and hope.

 

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

 

Link to Episode 203

(Right-click to download.)

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