Native Author-Illustrator Interview: Jonathan Nelson

By Traci Sorell

for Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

Today we welcome Diné (Navajo) artist Jonathan Nelson to discuss his journey as an illustrator and his recently published debut picture book.

Johnny, your Wool of Jonesy (Native Realities, 2016), a wordless graphic novel won the American Indian Library’s Association Middle Grade Honor Book Award earlier this year.  Continue Reading Native Author-Illustrator Interview: Jonathan Nelson »

New Voices: Kaylee Morrison and Nancy Smith on Joshua and The Biggest Fish

Nancy stands behind co-author & grandkid, Kaylee.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

What an honor and joy it is to welcome debut children’s authors, Kaylee Morrison and Nancy Smith, who’re also citizens of Muscogee Nation!

Their picture book is Joshua and The Biggest Fish (Doodle and Peck Publishing, 2017). From the promotional copy:

The big fish are way out in the deepest part of the river.

Continue Reading New Voices: Kaylee Morrison and Nancy Smith on Joshua and The Biggest Fish »

New Voice: Dawn Quigley on Apple in the Middle

By Traci Sorell

This is a watershed year for the release of Native young adult novels.

From Eric Gansworth’s Give Me Some Truth (Scholastic, 2018), the followup to his If I Ever Get Out of Here (Scholastic, 2013), and Tim Tingle’s Trust Your Name (7th Generation, September 2018), the fourth in his No Name series, to the upcoming Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick,

Continue Reading New Voice: Dawn Quigley on Apple in the Middle »

New Voice: Traci Sorell on We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

Traci & Frane in Tahlequah (Cherokee Nation Capital), June 2017

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Traci Sorell is the debut author of We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, illustrated by Frané Lessac (Charlesbridge, 2018). From the promotional copy:

Otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is a word that Cherokee people use to express gratitude. 


Beginning in the fall with the Cherokee New Year and ending in summer,

Continue Reading New Voice: Traci Sorell on We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga »

Cynsations Return & Author Update: Cynthia Leitich Smith on Writing, New Releases, Native Voices & Allies

Learn more about Cynthia Leitich Smith.

By Traci Sorell
for Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

As an New York Times bestselling author and the creator of Cynsations blog, Cynthia is well known to many. But after reading her upcoming YA novel, Hearts Unbroken (Candlewick, Oct. 9), this summer, I believe readers gain more insight into her earlier years.

Continue Reading Cynsations Return & Author Update: Cynthia Leitich Smith on Writing, New Releases, Native Voices & Allies »

Author Interview: Tim Tingle, Choctaw Storyteller & Author

Tim Tingle (right) with his son, Dr. Jacob Tingle,
photo courtesy Oklahoma Center for the Book.

By Traci Sorell

On April 7, 2018, author Tim Tingle received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Named in honor of an author who served as Oklahoma Center for the Book‘s first president, the award is presented annually  for a body of work contributing to Oklahoma’s literary heritage.

Continue Reading Author Interview: Tim Tingle, Choctaw Storyteller & Author »

Author Interview: Eric Gansworth on Give Me Some Truth

Eric Gansworth signing Give Me Some Truth
at 2018 Texas Library Association conference.

By Traci Sorell

Eric Gansworth is the YA author of Give Me Some Truth (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, May 29, 2018). From the promotional copy:

Carson Mastick is entering his senior year of high school and desperate to make his mark, on the reservation and off. 

Continue Reading Author Interview: Eric Gansworth on Give Me Some Truth »

LoonSong: A Writers Retreat & LoonSong: Turtle Island


LoonSong: A Writer’s Retreat is scheduled for Sept. 6 to Sept. 10 at Elbow Lake Lodge in Cook, Minnesota.

Faculty include children’s-YA authors Nikki Grimes, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Bruce Coville, Marion Dane Bauer, Jane Buchanan, Sarah Aronson, and Debby Dahl Edwardson as well as agent Michael Stearns of Upstart Crow Literary and editorial director and publisher Yolanda Scott of Charlesbridge.

Continue Reading LoonSong: A Writers Retreat & LoonSong: Turtle Island »

Interview: Lee Francis IV on Native Publishing, Bookstores & Indigenous Comic Con

Lee Francis IV

By Traci Sorell

Lee Francis IV is CEO/Publisher of Native Realities, owner of Red Planet Comics & Books store in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Organizer of Indigenous Comic Con.

Native Realities swept the Middle Grade category of 2018 award winners from the American Indian Library Association.

First, Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers,

Continue Reading Interview: Lee Francis IV on Native Publishing, Bookstores & Indigenous Comic Con »

Interview: Author Brad Wagnon & Illustrator Alex Stephenson on The Land of the Great Turtles

By Traci Sorell

I’m delighted to feature Brad Wagnon, a fellow Cherokee Nation citizen and author of The Land of Great Turtles (Rowe Publishing, March 2018). He is joined by Alex Stephenson, the book’s illustrator.

I met Brad a few years ago in Tahlequah through his work for the tribe. I enjoyed their first book, How the World Was Made (CreateSpace), Continue Reading Interview: Author Brad Wagnon & Illustrator Alex Stephenson on The Land of the Great Turtles »