• Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling YA author of HEARTS UNBROKEN and both the FERAL trilogy and TANTALIZE series. These novels were released by Candlewick Press in the U.S., Walker Books in the U.K. and Australia/New Zealand, and additional publishers around the globe. She also is the author of several award-winning children’s books, including: JINGLE DANCER, RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME, and INDIAN SHOES, all published by HarperCollins.

    In addition, Cynthia is the author-curator of Heartdrum, a Native-focused imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books, which will launch its first list in winter 2021.

    Forthcoming, Cynthia looks forward to the release of her middle grade anthology, ANCESTOR APPROVED (Heartdrum, winter 2021), and THE BLUE STARS graphic novel series, co-authored by Kekla Magoon, illustrated by Molly Murakami (Candlewick, fall 2022).

    She is based in Austin, Texas, and a citizen of Muscogee Nation /ma(:)skó:k-î/. She holds both a bachelor of science degree (with majors in news/editorial and public relations) from the William Allen White School of Journalism at The University of Kansas and a J.D. from The University of Michigan Law School, where she was president of the Native Law Students Association and co-founded The Michigan Journal of Gender and Law.

    She also serves on the core faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The Austin chapter of SCBWI has instituted the Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award in her honor. She has previously served on the boards of We Need Diverse Books and currently coordinates the organization’s annual Native writing workshop.


  • Any child can be a hero that everybody cheers!

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