Tucson Festival of Books

Cynthia Leitich Smith (she/her/hers)


Sponsored by Friend of the Festival

Cynthia Leitich Smith is an NSK Neustadt Laureate and acclaimed author of the American Indian Youth Literature Award winning "Hearts Unbroken," "Harvest House," "Sisters of the Neversea," The New York Times best-selling Tantalize and Feral series, "Rain Is Not My Indian Name" and "Jingle Dancer," illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu. She also edited the anthology "Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids," is the author-curator of Heartdrum, a Native-focused children's and young adult imprint and served as the inaugural Katherine Paterson Chair at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her new book is "Mission One: The Vice Principal Problem." A Muscogee Nation citizen, Cynthia Leitich Smith lives in Austin, Texas.

Visit website | Facebook Twitter Instagram

Awards: American Indian Youth Literature Award; NSK Neustadt Laureate

Communities: Indigenous or Native American, Mixed Race


Scheduled events:
The Challenge of Writing a Graphic Novel
Three authors who made the shift from writing successful chapter books to writing a graphic novel share that they learned about how to write a graphic novel.

Education Room 351 (Seats 46, Wheelchair accessible)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sat, Mar 9, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Children
Signing area: Signing Area - Children (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Kekla Magoon, Sarah Mlynowski, Cynthia Leitich Smith
Moderator: Desirée Cueto
The Power of Truth
The power and complications of truth-telling shines through in these books as characters pursue mysteries that reveal secrets and create change. Two cousins work to expose the misuse of power in their school, a girl moves from lies to truth, and a young wizard does his best to help others. They all struggle with whether truth is always good.

Education Room 353 (Seats 92, Wheelchair accessible)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sat, Mar 9, 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Children
Signing area: Signing Area - Children (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Elana K. Arnold, Kekla Magoon, Adam Rex, Cynthia Leitich Smith
Moderator: Ruth McKoy Lowery
It's Up to Kids to Save the World
In these adventures, kids must step up to save the world. In the Hilo graphic novel series by Judd Winick, Gina must turn back time to save the world, while Lisa McMann's The Forgotten Five series follows abandoned children of supernatural criminals. The Blue Stars mission book by Kekla Magoon and Cynthia Leitich Smith deals with the real world and how kids can make a difference.

Education Room 353 (Seats 92, Wheelchair accessible)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sun, Mar 10, 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Children
Signing area: Signing Area - Children (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Kekla Magoon, Lisa McMann, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Judd Winick
Moderator: Elizabeth O'Donnell
Indigenous Stories by Indigenous Voices
Books featuring Indigenous characters created by Indigenous authors have become a significant trend. Indigenous authors who write in different genres for different audiences talk about this movement to tell Native stories by Native voices -- why it matters, their views on the books being published, and their books as contributions to the field.

Education Room 353 (Seats 92, Wheelchair accessible)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sun, Mar 10, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Children
Signing area: Signing Area - Children (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Cherie Dimaline, Laurel Goodluck, David A. Robertson, Cynthia Leitich Smith
Moderator: LaCher Pacheco

Books:
Blue Stars: Mission One: The Vice Principal Problem
Children
Candlewick Press
March 2024
ISBN 9781536228663
176 pages
Buy now

Harvest House
Children
National Geographic Books
April 2023
ISBN 9781536218602
320 pages