Cynthia Leitich Smith
Cynthia Leitich Smith (born 1967) is a New York Times best-selling author of fiction for children and young adults. A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, she writes fiction for children centered on the lives of modern-day American Indians. She also writes picture books and YA gothic fantasies. She hosts a website for Children's Literature Resources. Smith, a graduate of the University of Kansas and The University of Michigan Law School, lives in Austin, Texas. She is a faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts, teaching in the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program. She was named the inaugural Katherine Paterson Chair in 2020. In addition, she was the winner of the 2021 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. Her debut, Jingle Dancer , illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu, was a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award, runner-up for the Western Writers Association Storyteller Award, and Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies. Rain is Not My Indian Name also was an Oklahoma Book Award finalist and earned Cynthia the title of 2001 Writer of the Year from Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. Indian Shoes has been named a Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, a finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters Award, to the 2003 Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education; and to Choices 2003, Cooperative Children's Book Center. It also was named to the NEA Native American Book List and the 2004-2005 Crown List. Smith's first upper YA novel, Tantalize , was named a Borders Original Voices Nominee in March 2007. Hearts Unbroken was named winner of the American Indian Youth Literature Award (Best Young Adult Book) by the American Indian Library Association.