Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Cynthia Leitich Smith  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:CHILD C:YA Fiction

Born: in Kansas City

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Lived in Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Jingle Dancer
ISBN: 068816241X

HarperCollins. 2000

The affirming story of how a contemporary Native American girl turns to her family and community to help her dance find a voice.

Jenna loves the tradition of jingle dancing that has been shared by generations of women in her family, and she hopes to dance at the next powwow. But she has a problem—how will her dress sing if it has no jingles?

The cone-shaped jingles sewn to Grandma Wolfe's dress sing tink, tink, tink, tink.

Jenna's heart beats to the

brum, brum, brum, brum

of the powwow drum as she daydreams about the clinking song of her grandma's jingle dancing.

The warm, evocative watercolors of Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu complement author Cynthia Leitich Smith's lyrical text in this picture book. Perfect for classroom and library sharing.

Rain Is Not My Indian Name
ISBN: 006029504X

HarperCollins. 2001

"Smith tells Rain’s story with confidence and heart and authenticity. She is a real, likable, smart girl with a quiet strength. I would especially recommend this for fans of Jacqueline Wilson’s

The House You Pass on the Way, both in terms of style and approach to tough topics. Rain is a great representation for younger Native kids, especially ones of mixed heritage." (Casey Stenaniuk in Book Riot, writing about "books that young Indigenous women can identify with, and that will offer windows for other readers.")

It's been six months since her best friend died, and up until now Rain has succeeded in shutting herself off from the world. But when controversy arises around her aunt Georgia's Indian Camp in their mostly white midwestern community, Rain decides to face the outside world again—at least through the lens of her canera.

Hired by her town newspaper to photograph the campers, Rain soon finds that she has to decide how involved she wants to become in Indian Camp. Does she want to keep a professional distance from the intertribal community she belongs to? And just how willing is she to connect with the campers after her great loss?

In a voice that resonates with insight and humor, Cynthia Leitich Smith tells of heartbreak, recovery, and reclaiming one's place in the world.

Indian Shoes
ISBN: 0060295325

HarperCollins. 2002

What do Indian shoes look like, anyway? Like beautiful beaded moccasins...or hightops with bright orange shoelaces?

Ray Halfmoon prefers hightops, but he gladly trades them for a nice pair of moccasins for his Grampa. After all, it's Grampa Halfmoon who's always there to help Ray get in and out of scrapes -- like the time they are forced to get creative after a homemade haircut makes Ray's head look like a lawn-mowing accident.

This collection of interrelated stories is heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny. Cynthia Leitich Smith writes with wit and candor about what it's like to grow up as a Seminole-Cherokee boy who is just as happy pounding the pavement in windy Chicago as rowing on a take in rural Oklahoma.

Santa Knows
ISBN: 0525477578

Dutton Books for Young Readers. 2006

Cantankerous child Alfie F. Snorklepuss, who tells everyone who will listen that Santa Claus doesn't exist, gets a much-needed attitude adjustment from the man in red who takes him on an eye-opening journey to the North Pole.

Tantalize
ISBN: 076364059X

Candlewick. 2008

"Readers will be tantalized by this dark, romantic, and disturbing fantasy of vampires, werewolves, and a strong no-nonsense heroine. " — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

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Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything? TANTALIZE marks Cynthia Leitich Smith’s delicious debut as a preeminent author of dark fantasy.

Eternal (Tantalize)
ISBN: 076364773X

Candlewick. 2010

Now in paperback! With diabolical wit, the author of TANTALIZE revisits a deliciously dark world where vampires vie with angels — and girls just want to have fangs. (Age 14 and up)

At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die. Elevated by none other than the King of the Mantle of Dracul, she goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous fiend overnight. Meanwhile, her guardian angel, Zachary, demoted to human guise as her personal assistant, has his hands full saving his girl’s soul while planning a fast-approaching Death Day gala. In alternating viewpoints, Miranda and Zachary navigate a cut-throat aristocracy as they play out a dangerous, diabolically witty love story for the ages.