Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Greg Leitich Smith  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:CHILD Fiction



Illinois Connection

Leitich Smith grew up in a German American neighborhood on the north side of Chicago and attended Lane Tech High School. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Biographical and Professional Information

Greg Leitich Smith is co-author (with his wife, New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith) of the picture book ''Santa Knows'' and the young adult short story ''The Wrath of Dawn'', which appeared in the ''Geektastic'' anthology.Originally from Chicago, Greg now lives in Austin, Texas. He holds degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Texas at Austin, and a degree in law from the University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo
ISBN: 1623520290

IntoPrint Publishing. 2013

Elias, Shohei, and Honoria have always been a trio united against That Which Is The Peshtigo School. But suddenly it seems that understanding and sticking up for a best friend isn’t as easy as it used to be. Elias, reluctant science fair participant, finds himself defying the authority of Mr. Ethan Eden, teacher king of chem lab. Shohei, all-around slacker, is approaching a showdown with his adoptive parents, who have decided that he needs to start “hearing” his ancestors. And Honoria, legal counsel extraordinaire, discovers that telling a best friend you like him, without actually telling him, is a lot harder than battling Goliath Reed or getting a piranha to become vegetarian. What three best friends find out about the Land of the Rising Sun, Pygocentrus nattereri, and Galileo’s choice, among other things, makes for a hilarious and intelligent read filled with wit, wisdom, and a little bit of science. Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner 2003 Writers’ League of Texas Teddy Award, 2004 A Junior Library Guild Selection An ALA Popular Paperback for Young Adult Readers, 2006 Nominee, Georgia Children’s Book Award, 2005-2006 Featured, Texas Book Festival “A school story, a romance, a courtroom drama, a comedy–Smith has put it all together in one book with three great characters–kids who are both brainy AND funny. I wish I’d known them when I was growing up.” –Linda Sue Park, Newbery Award Winning Author of A Single Shard. “A fresh, unusual story of friendship and honesty, riddled with wit, intelligence, and more than a few chuckles.” –School Library Journal “[A] fast-paced send up of school life. Smith achieves just the right balance of intelligent wit and drama in his first novel.” –Booklist “Smith’s sparkling debut offers three seventh grade narrators, each of them precocious, intelligent, and wickedly funny…Readers will identify with these smart characters and enjoy the vicarious attendance at their idiosyncratic school.” –Publisher’s Weekly Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo is published in Japan by Poplar Sha and in Korea by DongSanSa.

Tofu and T. rex
ISBN: 0316777226

Little, Brown Young Readers. 2005

Hans-Peter, who enjoys working in his family's Chicago delicatessen, applies for admission to the prestigious Peshtigo School that his cousin Freddie, a vegan and outspoken animal rights activist, attends. By the author of Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo.

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.

Chronal Engine
ISBN: 0544022777

Clarion Books. 2013

When Max, Kyle, and Emma are sent to live with their grandfather, they think their summer is ruined. But after Emma is kidnapped at the exact time that her grandfather predicted, Max and Kyle are forced to believe his story about the time machine in the basement.

To save Emma, Max, Kyle, and their new friend Petra must take the trip of a lifetime — to the Cretaceous period. Soon they find themselves dodging killer insects, velociraptors, and the terrifying T. rex. Can these

three contemporary teens hunt down a kidnapper, forage for food, and survive long enough to return home?

Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn
ISBN: 125006287X

Square Fish. 2015

Beach culture and UFOs collide in this lighthearted adventure story about an alien encounter at an aging Cocoa Beach motel.
Twelve-year-old Aidan lives and works at his parents' motel on the Space Coast in Florida, so he's seen a lot of weird stuff. Even his best friend, Louis, is a little bit crazy―he's obsessed with UFOs and swears he saw one two years ago. But things at the Mercury Inn are about to get a whole lot weirder. When an actual unidentified flying object suddenly appears in the sky over the motel, Aidan begins to realize that some of the residents of the Mercury Inn may be much more unusual than he thought. And Louis might not be so crazy after all. Filled with quirky characters and atmosphere, this beachy alien caper, like the aging motel where it takes place, is anything but ordinary.

Borrowed Time
ISBN: 0544237110

Clarion Books. 2015

Praise for Chronal Engine:

“Think Survivor and Robinson Crusoe, with a helping of Jurassic Park and a seasoning of The Time Machine.” —School Library Journal

“This is exactly the book young dino fans would write themselves.” —Booklist

In this time-travel dinosaur adventure, Max Pierson-Takahashi and his friend Petra return to the days of the dinosaurs, where they must survive attacks from mosasaurs, tyrannosaurs, and other deadly creatures, including a vengeful, pistol-toting girl from the 1920s. The fast pace, mind-bending time twists, and Greg Leitich Smith’s light, humorous touch make this an exciting, fun choice for readers looking for adventure and nonstop action.


-- '''''Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo''''' *Parents Choice Gold Award, 2003 *Writers League of Texas Teddy, 2004 *Junior Library Guild Selection *ALA Popular Paperback for Young Adult Readers, 2006 *Featured Book, Texas Book Festival '''''Tofu and T. Rex''''' *Finalist, Writers League of Texas Teddy *Finalist, Texas State Reading Association Golden Spur Award *Featured Book, Texas Book Festival '''''Chronal Engine''''' *Junior Library Guild Selection