Believe it or not, big sprawling Texas has a strong connection with tiny Yankee Vermont. No, it has nothing to do with maple syrup or covered bridges or politics (although Sen. Bernie Sanders could pass as a good ol’ yella dawg). It’s this interesting little tidbit: Texas –– and Austin in particular –– has one of the largest concentration of graduates of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA programs.
Texas has long been a hotbed for children’s books, and I’ve known my share of local young-adult authors with credentials from VCFA–– most recently Varian Johnson (right), a rising star in YA literature. But it wasn’t until I had lunch with author Cynthia Leitich Smith (below) last week that it all came together. (Disclaimer: Cyn and I bonded years ago over books and our shared heritage –– we both hail from the great state of Kansas and graduated from the University of Kansas only to end up most happily in Texas!).