Hi Everyone! I’m thrilled to have New York Times bestselling author Cynthia L. Copeland with us. It’s also pretty cool that we have a copy to give away, so make sure to scroll to the bottom for information on how to enter.
Okay, I can’t wait another minute to show you her latest release!
*lowers voice* It has pictures…😍
CUB by Cynthia L. Copeland
Released: January 7, 2020
Age Range: 8 – 12
A laugh-out-loud funny and empowering graphic memoir about growing up and finding your voice.
Twelve-year-old Cindy has just dipped a toe into seventh-grade drama—with its complicated friendships, bullies, and cute boys—when she earns an internship as a cub reporter at a local newspaper in the early 1970s. A (rare) young female reporter takes Cindy under her wing, and Cindy soon learns not only how to write a lede, but also how to respectfully question authority, how to assert herself in a world run by men, and—as the Watergate scandal unfolds—how brave reporting and writing can topple a corrupt world leader. Searching for her own scoops, Cindy doesn’t always get it right, on paper or in real life. But whether she’s writing features about ghost hunters, falling off her bicycle and into her first crush, or navigating shifting friendships, Cindy grows wiser and more confident through every awkward and hilarious.
“Copeland’s first graphic novel for kids successfully integrates the right balance of coming-of-age issues into those arising from her early-’70s setting; many of the latter are eerily similar to those that the country is still experiencing . . . This tale of middle-grade angst and self-consciousness is laced with humor and nostalgia.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Doesn’t this sound like a well-rounded middle grade book? And to top it off . . . *lowers voice* It has illustrations . . . They are soooooo awesome, too.
Let’s give a huge Mixed-Up family hello to Cynthia!
Hi, Cynthia. I’m so glad you were able to stop by for a visit. I am beyond fascinated with graphic novels, and the fact that CUB is a memoir as well is made of awesomeness. Let’s begin with what inspired you to create your main character Cindy?
Cub was inspired by my experiences as a cub reporter in Connecticut in the early 1970s, and I tried to keep my character very close to the person I was in seventh grade. As the story begins, twelve-year old Cindy is very attached to her childhood best friend, Katie, even as Katie is gravitating toward the “cool and cruel” crowd. When Cindy’s favorite teacher connects her with a young, hip female journalist, Cindy begins her evolution from a quiet, somewhat insecure wallflower to a confident pre-teen who finds her voice, and is able to assert herself in both professional and social situations.
I’m sure a lot of middle schoolers will be inspired by Cindy’s fortitude.
How else do you think middle grade readers will relate to her?
Even though the story takes place nearly half a century ago, the pre-teen social issues Cindy faces are timeless. She initially tries to “play dead” to avoid the mean girls (“the predators”), but this plan falls apart when “the predators” discover she has her first boyfriend, and they try to do everything they can to break up the relationship.
Uh-oh. . .
Readers will cheer Cindy on as she finds a loyal group of friends who stand up for one another, at the same time that she becomes more proficient in and excited about newspaper reporting and looks forward to seeing her very first stories and photographs in the newspaper.
This is really inspiring.
Any suggestions on how young writers like Cindy can get involved in writing for their local communities?
Aspiring young writers should offer to cover events taking place at their schools for their local newspapers! Local news coverage is in crisis today, as advertisers spend their money elsewhere, and readers look to other (oftentimes unreliable) sources for information. Young journalists who write about school sports, club activities, or other events in a thorough and accurate way are providing a real service to the community – as they improve their own writing skills.
What do you hope young readers take with them from reading CUB?
I hope readers grasp the importance of journalists and journalism in our democracy. The truth matters, and our society can’t function without independent sources of accurate information. It’s not easy to be a journalist today – and that’s exactly why we need persistent and thoughtful journalists now more than ever.
I also hope that kids realize how important it is to pursue something they feel passionately about outside of school. Outside interests offer balance as well as perspective, and help kids see that even though daily social interactions can feel very high-stakes, there is a big world beyond the middle school hallways.
Without sharing spoilers, can you share something unique about Cindy’s story journey?
The self-confidence that Cindy gets from her experiences as a cub reporter not only help her as she covers stories and takes photos for the paper, but her newfound courage leads her to pursue a very interesting and creative summer job!
I really enjoyed this book. *lowers voice* And . . . it has graphics!
What do you feel (or from your experience) is the importance of graphic novels in middle grade literature?
Graphic novels serve such an important role in middle grade literature, and I’m delighted that they are finally getting the attention and respect they deserve! This format helps kids read “up” because the images provide context for new vocabulary words. Visual storytelling also helps readers empathize with characters, as they look into the faces of those in the story. Young readers use critical thinking skills to understand how words and art combine to tell a complete story. And perhaps most importantly, kids naturally gravitate to graphic novels and are excited to read them!
Yes, it does help them read “up”. Love this!
What can authors do to help promote graphic novels in the classroom?
Authors can visit or Skype into classrooms and discuss the process of visual storytelling, and can help teachers find ways to incorporate their work into the curriculum. In Cub, for instance, I not only show journalists at work, but I highlight social issues that are relevant today: Earth Day, which celebrates its fifty-year anniversary this April, was intended to bring attention to environmental protection; the Equal Rights Amendment, first proposed in 1923, is still not a part of our Constitution; political turmoil at the top levels of our government persists; and unpopular wars rage on across the world.
*Readers – please read Cynthia’s answer again. It contains so much wisdom about inspire young readers and getting them to read.*
Lastly, would you share one piece of writing advice for our reading writers out there?
Read the kinds of books you think you’d like to write. And read critically: If you didn’t like a book, ask yourself why. Is it the pace you don’t like, or the character development, or the ending… ? What would you have done differently if you had been the author?
Definitely thought-provoking advice! Thank you so much for sharing Cindy and her journey through CUB. It’s been a pleasure. All the best to you always, from your Mixed-Up family…
Cynthia L. Copeland has written over 25 books. CUB is her first graphic memoir for young readers. “I’ve always wanted to write about this period in my life,” she said. “The social pressures of middle school today (then junior high) are remarkably similar, and some of the political events feel eerily similar.” In CUB, young Cindy has a front row seat to many of the hot-button issues of the day including a shocking, protracted White House scandal, the fierce fight for gender equality, and the burgeoning environmental movement. Website | Publisher
Want to WIN your own paperback copy of CUB? Hop over to Twitter to retweet/follow/like THIS Tweet; giveaway US only. Winner announced on Twitter, February 7, 2020.
Thank you for reading! Now, go out and purchase CUB, and give it to a middle grade reader that needs to be inspired. You won’t be disappointed.
I remember having writing assignments in school where we had to mimic a newspaper article. Those were some of my favorite assignments. I loved the creativity and this book will encourage that. I hope to share that with my children one day.