Cynthia Weill (1959–) Biography
Personal, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights
Born 1959, in New York, NY; Education: University of Pennsylvania, M.S.; Wesleyan University, M.A.; Columbia University Teachers College, M.Ed., doctoral study.
Glastonbury High School, Glastonbury, CT, Spanish teacher, 1986–99; Catholic Relief Services, Hanoi, Vietnam, program manager of education, 1999–2002; Aid to Women Artisans (humanitarian concern), founder; writer.
Three National Endowment of the Humanities awards; Fullbright award; American Library Association Notable Books for a Global Society designation, 2003, and Best of Children's Books designation, Bank Street College of Education, 2004, both for for Ten Mice for Tet!
(With Pegi Deitz Shea) Ten Mice for Tet!, illustrated by To Ngoc Trang and Pham Viet Dinh, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2003.
Work in Progress
Dónde está?, a book teaching animal names using Latin-American artisan work; Guillermina, a book about the life of Mexican ceramicist Guillermina Aguilar.
Teacher and children's book author Cynthia Weill made her writing debut with Ten Mice for Tet!, coauthored with veteran children's writer Pegi Deitz Shea. In this multicultural tale, which features unique, vividly colored art that is based on Vietnamese embroidery, a group of enthusiastic mice prepare for a Vietnamese New Year celebration. Beginning with the cleaning and preparation that goes into the event, the group of mice eventually enjoy the festivities in a story that "will hold the interest of even the youngest readers" according to a Publishers Weekly critic. A commentator from Kirkus Reviews stated that Weill's book provides young listeners with "an inviting, informative introduction" to a less-familiar holiday celebration.
Weill told SATA: "Before co-authoring my first book Ten Mice for Tet! I worked as a teacher, an art historian, and in the field of humanitarian assistance. For many years, I also worked with artisans in developing nations, helping them to improve their products and promote their work.
"All of these elements came together when I was living in Vietnam and discovered the village of Quat Dong. Artisans there have practiced the art of embroidery since the sixteenth century. After working with master embroiderer Pham Viet Dinh for about six months, we finally hit upon the perfect showcase for his work: traditional woodblock prints. After seeing the results, the artwork for Ten Mice for Tet! was born. Since then, I have continued to work with artisans to use their work as the illustrations in my books. Working with artisans collaboratively to develop their work for educational materials has also become the focus of my doctoral research at the Teacher College of Columbia University."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklinks, January, 2005, Kay Weisman, review of Ten Mice for Tet!, p. 24.
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Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2003, review of Ten Mice for Tet!, p. 21.
Publishers Weekly, December 15, 2003, review of Ten Mice for Tet!, p. 71.
School Library Journal, December, 2003, Tali Balas, review of Ten Mice for Tet!, p. 140; October, 2004, review of Ten Mice for Tet!, p. 22.
Chronicle Books Web site, http://www.chroniclebooks.com/ (September 27, 2005),"'Chuc Mung Nam Noi' or Happy New Year!"