Writing Heroes: Cynthia Leitich Smith

For a long time now, Angela and I have wanted a way to acknowledge the people who have helped us develop into stronger writers and who add to the writing community as a whole. As a new feature here at The Bookshelf Muse, we will take turns giving well-deserved recognition to some of the people who really make an impact…people who truly are Writing Heroes. People like


Looking at this author’s accomplishments and all that she does, I think we may need to rename this feature “Writing Superheroes.” Her blog was named one of two most read blogs by the SCBWI, and Writer’s Digest declared her website one of the top ten writer sites on the Internet. As if that wasn’t enough, her website contains this totally awesome Childrens and YA Literature Resources page, with links to state and national awards criteria, author and illustrator interviews, and bibliographies sorted by age group and theme, to name just a few incredible resources.

When you look at these treasure troves, you have to kind of think that no mere human could possibly accomplish so much. Which is why I’m pretty sure she’s got some secret superpowers that enable her to watch over and come to the rescue of the global writing community.

Superhero Power #1
Cynthia’s knowledge of what’s happening in the industry is, frankly, astounding. Through her blog and website, she shares information on grants, contests, and literature awards in numerous countries. Clearly, she has some kind of previously undiscovered POWER OVER TIME AND SPACE to know so much about so much happening in so many places.

Superhero Power #2
Once a week, Cynthia releases a feature on her blog called Cynsational News and Giveaways. This feature comes out every Friday, and is chock full of links that writers all over the globe are bookmarking left and right. I dare you to read this feature and NOT come away with either a new blog/author to follow or some priceless bit of information that you didn’t know before. Each week’s entry includes links on a variety of subjects, including

  • the craft of writing
  • editor and agent info
  • literacy issues
  • marketing and publicity for authors
  • upcoming writing courses and classes in various locations

This is just a smattering of what she shares. I can’t cover it all because I simply don’t possess the MAD HACKING SKILLZ she must have to find all of this good stuff.

Superhero Power #3
I’ve never seen someone so generous in her willingness to increase exposure for other authors. Through interviews and giveaways, she is constantly providing new and returning authors the opportunity to plug their books. In this way, the Grinch is probably her Supervillain, and she’d easily defeat him via her SUPER-SIZED HEART.

Magnificent! you say. Truly, she is a superhero! And yes, you’re right. But the most amazing part comes when you look at her credentials:

  • New York Times and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author
  • Published author of countless books, including YA novels, picture books, works of fiction and non-fiction, short stories, essays, and a graphic novel
  • Award-winning blogger
  • Instructor
  • God only knows what else

Looking at this list, you realize that, by many peoples’ standards, Cynthia has already “arrived.” Yet, she’s still giving back so much of her time, energy, and knowledge. This is what makes her a superhero in my book.

So, thank you Cynthia, for being one of my WRITING HEROES. You inspire me, woman!

To pay it forward, I will give a 1000 word critique to Cynthia. She can then choose to keep it for herself or offer it as a giveaway on her blog! As a resident writing hero, she will also have a permanent link in our header.

So tell me Musers…do you know Cynthia? Has she helped you or your writing in some way? Please tell us in the comments and help celebrate this amazing WRITING HERO!  


Angela is an international speaker and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also enjoys dreaming up new tools and resources for One Stop For Writers, a library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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34 Responses to Writing Heroes: Cynthia Leitich Smith

  1. So glad you featured Cynthia! I am a long-time subscriber of her blog, and I am never NOT amazed at how much she does for the kidlit community and for KIDS!

  2. What a great series! Yes! Cynthia is a wealth of information. I’m so thankful for her blog.

  3. Such an excellent choice! Cynthia is a wonderful advocate for other writers!! 🙂

  4. RD Meyer says:

    Cynthia sounds amazing. Thanks for turning me on to her blog!

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