I REMEMBER: POEMS AND PICTURES OF HERITAGE, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins (Lee & Low, 2019).
From the joyous to the poignant, poems by award-winning, diverse poets are paired with images by celebrated illustrators from similar backgrounds to pay homage to what is both unique and universal about growing up in the United States.
Featuring: “Amazing Auntie Ann” by Cynthia Leitich Smith.
Kirkus Reviews (starred): “Curated by poet Hopkins, a collection of poems and illustrations sourced from a diverse pool of creators.Each double-page spread or multipage sequence captures a childhood memory, an artist paired with a poet welcoming readers into an expansive space of youth and memory.”
THANKU: POEMS OF GRATITUDE, edited by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Marlena Myles (Millbrook, 2019).
A fully illustrated, concept picture book celebrating gratitude and featuring numerous children’s poets.
Featuring: “Stories for Dinner” by Cynthia Leitich Smith.
Kirkus Reviews: “The poets not only select a wide array of objects inspiring gratitude…but employ incredibly varied lyric forms…. Lovely lyric lessons in appreciating the ordinary.”
THE HERO NEXT DOOR, edited by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (Random House, 2019).
An anthology about everyday kid heroes (without superpowers) who make the world a better place.
Featuring: “Girl’s Best Friend” by Cynthia Leitich Smith.
Kirkus Reviews (starred): “A stellar collection that, in celebrating heroes, helps readers find the universal in the specific.”
Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Books (starred): “…collection of thirteen impressively varied short stories highlights diversity both in the identities of its young protagonists as well as in its eclectic storytelling forms. …a consistently solid anthology that introduces and then celebrates the efficacy of short fiction as much as it does diverse voices.”
School Library Journal: “Heroes with superhuman powers wear capes and save the world from destruction. That’s not the kind of hero this book focuses on…. A great anthology with a message of spreading kindness and hope.”
OUR STORY BEGINS: YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS AND ILLUSTRATORS SHARE FUN, INSPIRING, AND OCCASIONALLY RIDICULOUS THINGS THEY WROTE AND DREW AS KIDS, edited by Elissa Brent Weissman (Atheneum, 2017)
An anthology collection of quirky, smart, and vulnerable childhood works by some of today’s foremost children’s authors and illustrators.
Featuring: “Dreams to Write” by Cynthia Leitich Smith.
- Amazon.com’s Best Children’s Nonfiction Books of 2017.
School Library Journal: “An authentic, generous, and inspiring selection for tweens who wonder where their doodling or journaling might take them.”
Booklist: “…the main takeaway, of course, is that hard work and practice, as well as a lot of inevitable failure, is always part of honing a craft. A sweet, inspirational anthology for any kid who dreams of one day having their own name on the cover of a book.”
Kirkus Reviews: “The art and writing samples from childhood are occasionally exciting but more often typical of the age represented—and thus encouraging rather than intimidating to young creatives. The memoirs—all (unsurprisingly) engaging—range from humorous to serious, and some slip in good advice, both about the tools of the craft and about self-marketing.”
BCCB: “…a clear message throughout that this early work counts, whether you finish it, whether it’s completely original, whether it wins you the regard you hoped… this has curricular use written all over it (there’s even tips for young writers at the end) and the encouragement is strong and valuable.”
IN MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE: AWARD-WINNING AUTHORS TELL STORIES ABOUT THEIR GRANDMOTHERS, edited and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen (HarperCollins, 2003)(OP).
An anthology collection of short stories by authors about their grandmothers.
Featuring: “The Naked Truth” by Cynthia Leitich Smith.
- NYPL Books for the Teenage.
VOYA: “The most entertaining contributions are Cynthia Leitich Smith’s ‘The Naked Truth,’ in which a granddaughter discovers that the nude figure painted in the basement is her grandmother, and Gail Carson Levine’s ‘A Visit to Grandma’s,’ as a granddaughter speaks out about her grandmother and her great aunts’ disrespect of her mother.”
School Library Journal: “An old painting in the basement allows Cynthia Leitich Smith to see her grandmother for who she really is, and to see herself in a new light as well.”
Booklist: “A fine collection that will encourage teens to reflect on their own families and recognize the individuals behind the family roles.”
PERIOD PIECES, edited by Erzsi Deak and Kristin Litchman (HarperCollins, 2003)(OP).
An anthology collection of short stories about girls starting their periods for the first time.
Featuring: “The Gentleman Cowboy” by Cynthia Leitich Smith.
- Bank Street Best Book (starred);
- NYPL Women in Books for the Teenage.
Kirkus Reviews: “Cynthia Leitich Smith tells of the kindly cowboy, barely older than she, who rescues her from fear of heights on horseback and from being caught on said horse with no supplies or nearby bathroom.”
School Library Journal: “An honest, touching, sometimes hilarious collection.”
Booklist: “Whether or not they have experienced the arrival of their first ‘George,’ ‘Auntie,’ or ‘Dona Rosa,’ girls will enjoy these stories—funny and self-deprecating, frank and reassuring—which may encourage them to shed embarrassment and take ownership of their bodies.”