Authors and Illustrators to Meet

More than five dozen writers and artists will be featured at Children’s Institute 2022.

Picture Books

Daniel Bernstrom

A Bear, a Bee, and a Honey Tree, illus. by Brandon James Scott (Hippo Park, Nov. 1; $18; 35,000-copy announced first printing; ages 3–7)

Why the buzz: A Bear, A Bee, and a Honey Tree feels like a story that was always meant to be: two unflappable characters, a natural conflict—one makes honey and one eats it!)—minimal rhyming text, and tons of fun! It’s perfect for beginning readers but great for read-alouds, too—and by two lovely creators whose collaboration shows on every page.”—Jill Davis, editorial director, Hippo Park

Opening: “A bear/A bee/A honey tree”

Author reception

Danielle Greendeer

Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story, co-written by Anthony Perry and Alexis Bunten, illus. by Garry Meeches Sr. (Charlesbridge, Aug. 2; $16.99; 40,000-copy announced first printing; ages 3–7)

Why the buzz: “From the first time I read Keepunumuk, I knew it was a story that just had to be in the market for kids. Native stories are so important.”—Karen Boss, senior editor

Opening: “ ‘I love your garden this time of year,’ said Maple.”

Native Stories Now: keynote and breakfast; author reception

Ali Kamanda

Black Boy, Black Boy, co-written by Jorge Redmond, illus. by Ken Daley (Sourcebooks Explore, Aug. 9; $17.99; 60,000-copy announced first printing; ages 3–7)

Why the buzz: “College friends Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond created Black Boy, Black Boy so their young sons would believe in their capacity to do amazing things. They knew that if Black boys knew their history, it could shape their future. We love the father-son relationship that is central to the story, and know that the joyful rhyme, vibrant illustrations, and affirming message will touch the kids who need it most.”—Shara Zaval, associate director of marketing and publicity, Sourcebooks

Opening: “Dear boy, Black boy, rise up, it’s time. It’s a new day and a chance to shine.”

Author reception

Ibram X. Kendi

Goodnight Racism, illus. by Cbabi Bayoc (Kokila, June 14; $18.99; 250,000-copy announced first printing; ages 3–7)

Why the buzz: “Dr. Kendi has been helping families have essential conversations. Where Antiracist Baby was a tool—giving caregivers the language to talk about racism—Goodnight Racism is a gift—a wish for the children in our lives to harness the radical power they have to imagine a better world.”—Namrata Tripathi, v-p and publisher, Kokila

Opening: “Outside the window, peeking down from the night sky, the moon watches over us.”

Juneteenth celebration

Lil Miss Hot Mess

If You’re a Drag Queen and You Know It, illus. by Olga de Dios (Running Press Kids, out now; $17.99; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “This is one of the most joyful and popular titles on our list—a fun sing-along book set to the tune of ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’ with a drag twist that encourages kids to embrace all the playfulness of drag culture.”—Becca Matheson, associate manager of marketing and publicity, Running Press Kids and Black Dog & Leventhal

Opening: “If you’re a drag queen and you know it… blow a kiss!”

Drag Queen Story Hour booth

Ruth Ohi

Blanket (Groundwood, Aug. 2; $18.99; 5,000-copy announced first printing; ages 3–6)

Why the buzz: “Ruth Ohi’s first wordless picture book is a quiet, heartfelt story about those times when you just want to hide under a blanket—and how much it can mean to have a friend who will be there to keep you company.”—Kirsten Brassard, publicist, Groundwood Books

Author reception

Meg Raby

My Brother Otto and the Birthday Party, illus. by Elisa Pallmer (Gibbs Smith, Aug. 16; $16.99; ages 3–5)

Why the buzz: “We are thrilled to publish a book that espouses acceptance and understanding, and helps young readers without autism better relate to children on the autism spectrum, as well as their neurodivergent peers. The storyline and artwork is darling. I know you’ll fall in love with Otto Crow.”—Lizzi Middleman, marketing manager, Gibbs Smith

Opening: “One more sleep until it’s Saturday—our friend Ruthie’s birthday party! I picked out the prettiest dress to wear!”

Author reception

Suzanne Slade

Dazzlin’ Dolly: The Songwriting, Hit-Singing, Guitar-Picking Dolly Parton (Calkins Creek, Sept. 20; $18; 30,000-copy announced first printing; ages 7–10)

Why the buzz: “Dolly Parton is a national icon and treasure but readers—young and old—might not know about her childhood, her early determination to sing and play, and her fear of appearing on stage. Dazzlin’ Dolly makes Dolly Parton more recognizable, especially to young readers who have dreams of being artists but also struggle with stage fright. This is the book that highlights just how Dolly became dazzling—how she became Dolly Parton. The text and illustrations dazzle in tribute!”—Carolyn Yoder, editorial director, Calkins Creek

Opening: “On a cold, snowy day in a one-room cabin tucked between two tall Tennessee mountains, Dolly Parton was born.”

Author reception

Traci Sorell

Powwow Day, illus. by Madelyn Goodnight (Charlesbridge, out now; $16.99; 50,000-copy announced first printing; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “The story arc that Traci Sorell created for River in Powwow Day is both hopeful and poignant, and I tear up every time I read the book, even after all this time.”—Karen Boss, senior editor, Charlesbridge

Opening: “ ‘River, wake up,’ Amber whispers.”

Native Stories Now: keynote and breakfast; author reception

Middle Grade

Rose Bousamra (illustrator)

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega (First Second, Oct. 18; $21.99, $12.99 paper; 65,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Moving from Puerto Rico to New York as a young and impressionable child was hard enough, but growing up in a society where beauty and outer presentation signified value was even more difficult. My sister was the seemingly ‘faulty’ one, with her outrageous ringlets that my mother didn’t know how to tame, although she tried her best. If we had had Frizzy in our upbringing, we would have known that being different is not only wonderful, but beautiful too.”—Tatiana Merced-Zarou, associate publicist, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Opening: “It’s not my cousin’s fault, but I’m super mad at her for having a quince.”

Author reception

Julie Buxbaum

The Area 51 Files, illus. by Lavanya Naidu (Delacorte, Sept. 13; $14.99; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Julie Buxbaum was destined to write hilarious, heartfelt middle grade! On and off the page, Julie’s humor is spot-on. This epically fun series opener about the newest young resident of Area 51—illustrated by the brilliant Lavanya Naidu—is the exact story I want to put in kids’ hands right now. Come for the zany aliens, adorable pet sidekicks, and mystery-solving antics, but stay for the poignant themes of friendship and home. We couldn’t be prouder to publish Julie’s middle grade debut.”—Hannah Hill, editor, Delacorte Press

Opening: “ ‘Seriously, that’s it. That’s the most important rule here.’ This is what my Uncle Anish says when I meet him for the very first time.”

Author reception

Meg Cannistra

How to Heal a Gryphon (Inkyard, Oct. 4; $16.99; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “I fell in love with How to Heal a Gryphon the moment I learned it followed an aspiring magical veterinarian. Yet, this book’s magic lies not only in the creatures but in the body positivity, thoughtful exploration of family dynamics, and immersive worldbuilding, which transports readers to a fantastical version of Italy that they will not soon forget.”—Connolly Bottum, editor, Harlequin

Opening: “It’s not my fault I’m late.”

Author reception

Kay Davault

Star Knights: A Graphic Novel (Random House Graphic, July 5; $12.99 paper; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz:Star Knights is one of those books that you can’t help but fall in love with. When we got this submission for a story about a frog who wants to be a hero, of course we knew we had to add this book to our list. Kay Davault’s debut graphic novel is action-packed and delightfully colored, and the animation-like artwork brings the story to life in a way that will have the reader hooked. This fun, heartfelt hero’s story will make you smile the entire time you read it.”—Whitney Leopard, senior editor, Random House Graphic

Opening: “Once upon a time… when the Milky Way Marsh was newly formed… stars fell to our planet.”

Indies Introduce lunch

Aya de León

Undercover Latina (Candlewick, Oct. 11; $18.99; ages 10–14)

Why the buzz: “There’s nothing I love more than a book that explores meaty issues in a compulsively readable package, so it’s been a thrill to work on Undercover Latina, which is at that perfect intersection of fun and smart. Who can resist the story of a teenage spy who goes undercover for an agency that defends people of color? Aya de León addresses racism, colorism, and feminism with action and suspense, a smidge of romance, and a fantastic female friendship.”—Andrea Tompa, executive editor, Candlewick Press

Opening: “A grown man is no match for a teenage girl on a skateboard.”

Author reception

Lisi Harrison

1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War, co-written by Daniel Kraus (Union Square Kids, Sept. 6; $16.99; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Graveyard Girls mixes a contemporary, funny voice with a healthy dash of scary. At its heart, this series is about the power of friendship as seen through the eyes of five strong female characters. Lisi Harrison and Dan Kraus knock it out of the park with the first book, introducing us to Whisper, Sophie, Gemma, Frannie, and Zuzu as they tell eerie tales by night, investigate a murderous legend, and navigate middle school drama by day.”—Tracey Keevan, editorial director, Union Square Kids

Opening: “I’ve had my eye on these girls for a while now.”

Author reception

Maggie Horne

Hazel Hill Is Gonna Win This One (Clarion, Oct. 18; $16.99; 40,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Accessible, heartfelt, and surprisingly funny, this novel about friendship and finding your voice holds a special place in my heart. It’s not a coming-out narrative, but Hazel does come out in it; it’s not an issue book, but it does explore heavier themes of sexual harassment—proving that, while justice isn’t always entirely served, listening to someone else’s pain and believing them is a gift—and a win—in and of itself.”—Lily Kessinger, editor, Clarion Books

First line: “I’ve been told that it’s impossible to know everything, but I think I’ve found a loophole.”

Author reception

Laura Krantz

The Search for Sasquatch (Abrams, Oct. 11; $19.99; 40,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “When Laura Krantz said she was setting out to prove whether Sasquatch existed or not, and do so by using the scientific method, she had me hooked! I believe in science, so if science said Sasquatch was real, then, by golly, who could argue with that? Reading about Laura’s adventures in the woods with ‘squatchers’ and her interviews with eyewitnesses, scientists, and others brought home to me how real something that may be unreal is.” —Howard Reeves, editor at large, Abrams

Opening: “Whiplike, bendy branches scraped down the sides of our giant black pickup truck, like a witch’s fingernails.”

Indies Introduce lunch

Gillian McDunn

When Sea Becomes Sky (Bloomsbury Children’s, Mar. 7, 2023; $16.99; 60,000-copy announced first printing; ages 9–11)

Why the buzz: “Remember the first book that broke your heart? That taught you empathy and made you fall in love with reading? This is that book. Gillian McDunn has always tugged our heartstrings with her middle grade stories, but she and every early reader agree: this is her once-in-a-lifetime book. It’s the story of the summer between one girl’s childhood and everything that comes after. I can’t spoil anything else… you just have to read it!”—Lily Yengle, associate director of marketing, Bloomsbury

Opening: “Some summers are the funnest and some summers are the longest but last summer was perfectly ordinary until the day we found the hand.”

Author reception

Lisa McMann

Map of Flames (The Forgotten Five #1) (Putnam, out now; $17.99; 50,000-copy first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Lisa McMann’s new middle grade series, the Forgotten Five, was an instant New York Times bestseller and is poised to be the next must-read series for fans of X-Men and spy novels. In this compulsive page-turner, readers meet five orphaned children with supernatural powers who have been raised in isolation on a deserted island and are suddenly forced to return to the capital city that their supernatural criminal parents fled years before, to solve the mystery of what happened to them. The second book in the series, The Invisible Spy, releases this November.”—Shanta Newlin, senior v-p of publicity, Penguin Young Readers

Opening: “Birdie Golden’s fingers were still stained with dirt from digging her father’s grave.”

Author reception

David Barclay Moore

Holler of the Fireflies (Knopf, Sept. 27; $17.99; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “It can be hard to follow a hugely successful debut, but David Barclay Moore does it brilliantly with this portrayal of Javari: a smart, shy boy from Bushwick, who steps way out of his comfort zone to attend a STEM camp in a tiny town in Appalachia. This story is so timely and important, exploring the intersections of racism, poverty, environmental justice, and corporate greed. David doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff! Instead he tells stories that embrace the complexity of the world, the beautiful and the ugly, and helps readers find their own truths.”—Nancy Siscoe, senior executive editor, Knopf Books for Young Readers

Opening: “Moms had warned me I’d get deep in trouble one day.”

Author reception

Lisa Moore Ramée

Mapmaker (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Sept. 20; $17.99; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Lisa has such a gift for writing indelible middle grade characters. It’s been her dream to write fantasy, and her myriad strengths as a contemporary writer really come through in this genre shift. Walt is an incredibly relatable fantasy hero because he isn’t strong and he isn’t particularly brave. It’s more his twin sister, Van, who has those qualities. But when Walt discovers that he has the magical ability to make maps come to life, all the things that had made him feel different or less-than are exactly what he needs to save the day.”—Alessandra Balzer, v-p and co-publisher, Balzer + Bray

Opening: “Walt was hiding.”

Author reception

Karen Strong

Eden’s Everdark (Simon & Schuster, Sept. 6; $17.99; 50,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “In this atmospheric and suspenseful novel, Karen Strong draws from Southern legends historically shared through oral tradition and pins them to the page with her own original flair. I love that this lush portal fantasy truly centers Black characters, history, and folklore and uses magic and fantasy to spotlight the very real world of Georgia’s barrier islands. Most of all, Eden’s Everdark is a novel that never talks down to children, one that recognizes their capacity for understanding the shadow side. It’s unsparing and unapologetic about helping young readers look grief in the face, ultimately offering them a roadmap for how to love life in spite of the pain in our hearts. To my mind, Eden’s Everdark cements Karen Strong as a storyteller of note and an author of future classics in the middle grade pantheon.”—Kendra Levin, editorial director, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Opening: “Eden slid her finger on the map to the blue expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.”

Author reception

YA

Alex Aster

Lightlark (Amulet, Aug. 23; $19.99; 100,000-copy announced first printing; ages 13–up)

Why the buzz: Alex Aster is that rare talent who is fully committed to her vision and willing to push herself as far as she can possibly go. The result is a multilayered, vividly written, and genuinely surprising narrative. The enjoyment Alex takes in her craft shines through on every single page and made me want to linger forever in the world of Lightlark. I can’t wait to get this book into readers’ hands!”—Anne Heltzel, editorial director of entertainment publishing and content development, Abrams

Opening: “Isla Crown often fell through puddles of stars and into faraway places.”

Author reception

Victoria Aveyard

Blade Breaker (HarperTeen, June 28; $19.99; 350,000-copy announced first printing; ages 13–up)

Why the buzz: “Why am I excited about Blade Breaker? Where do I start? The sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling Realm Breaker picks up with Corayne and her band of misfits as they continue their quest to save the world. There’s excellent multi-POV narratives (my favorite is Sorasa), breakneck action, a villain romance, cinematic adventure… and a cliffhanger ending that has me so excited for the final book in the series. What more do you need?”—Alice Jerman, editor, HarperCollins Children’s Books

Opening: “The voice echoed as if down a long passage, distant and fading, difficult to make out.”

BookTok panel

Terry J. Benton-Walker

Blood Debts (Tor Teen, Apr. 4, 2023; $18.99; 200,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14–18)

Why the buzz: “Reading Blood Debts was like binge-watching my new favorite show. I gasped, I laughed, I completely fell in love. Benton-Walker is a powerhouse new voice in YA fantasy, and the relationship between race, magic, and power is fresh and observant. I was on the edge of my seat to see who’d claim the throne.”—Ali Fisher, executive editor, Tor/Forge Books

Opening: “Everyone I love either dies or deserts me, and not even magic can do a gotdamned thing about it.”

Author reception

Kacen Callender

Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution (Amulet, Sept. 27; $19.99; 50,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14–up)

Why the buzz: “I’ve been an admirer of Kacen’s writing for years, and so I am thrilled and honored to be publishing their new YA novel. Kacen captures queer Black life like no one else writing today, and their newest book asks some big questions about identity, accountability, and who deserves love. This book also has a swoonworthy romance and a social media-mishap plot that kept me hanging on every page. It’s a book you’ll want to share with everyone you know.” —Maggie Lehrman, editorial director of fiction, Abrams

Opening: “My phone buzzes. I spin around in my chair so fast I almost fall.”

Author reception

Adalyn Grace

Belladonna (Little, Brown; Aug. 30; $18.99; 100,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14–up)

Why the buzz: “[We] can’t wait for the release of Belladonna, bestselling author Adalyn Grace’s new novel that is quite literally to die for. Whatever your poison, Belladonna has something for everyone: a sensuous romance that will leave readers breathless, a captivating mystery full of twists and turns, a glamorously decadent Gothic setting, and a young woman taking control of her destiny—which is fully entwined with Death himself.”—Deirdre Jones, executive editor, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Opening: “It’s said that five belladonna berries are all it takes to kill someone.”

Author reception

Rachel Griffin

Wild Is the Witch (Sourcebooks Fire, Aug. 2; $18.99; 125,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14–18)

Why the buzz: “I am so thrilled to be publishing Wild Is the Witch by Rachel Griffin. When Rachel’s debut, The Nature of Witches, published last year, I knew she was making a name for herself based on her lush worldbuilding, swoony romance, and witchy magic, and I wasn’t wrong. Wild Is the Witch has all those things in spades, and I know readers old and new will fall in love with this novel from the first page.”—Annie Berger, senior editor, Sourcebooks

Opening: “The wind was starting to build. Iris knew she should focus on the words of the witch in front of her, but instead her attention was on the sound of the trees.”

Author reception

Jas Hammonds

We Deserve Monuments (Roaring Brook, Nov. 29; $18.99; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14–18)

Why the buzz: “I’m beyond thrilled about We Deserve Monuments because it is a compulsively readable debut—where layers of family secrets collide with uncomfortable unsolved mysteries and racial trauma in small-town Georgia. Yet Jas Hammonds, a masterful writer who never fails to surprise me, has also imbued this story with beautiful, charismatic characters, a house on Sweetness Lane that slowly starts to feel like home, and a tender queer romance that celebrates Black girls and Black joy.”—Mekisha Telfer, senior editor, Roaring Brook Press

Opening: “Ten. That’s how many bullet holes I counted puncturing the rusted brown Bardell County highway sign.”

Indies Introduce lunch

Frederick Joseph

Better Than We Found It: Conversations to Help Save the World, co-written by Porsche Joseph (Candlewick, Oct. 11; $19.99; ages 12–up)

Why the buzz:Better Than We Found It, by husband-and-wife team Frederick Joseph [The Black Friend] and Porsche Joseph, is so much more than a phenomenal book—it’s a call to action and a call to empathy. Highlighting 16 critical issues like gun violence, transphobia, and climate change, and featuring interviews with luminaries like Elizabeth Warren, Julián Castro, Robert Reich, and Nic Stone, the Josephs make a clear and impassioned case for effecting positive change—and doing so now.” —Kaylan Adair, executive editor, Candlewick

Opening: “Dear one, progress isn’t the longest word in the dictionary, but in many ways it’s the largest.”

Juneteenth celebration

Susan Lee

Seoulmates (Inkyard, Sept. 20; $18.99; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 13–up)

Why the buzz: “With a super swoony romance, lovable characters, and a thoughtful exploration of Korean American identity in a world newly obsessed with Korean pop culture, Seoulmates feels like listening to your favorite K-pop song on a perfect summer day. This happily ever after is sure to keep you smiling long after you’ve turned the last page.”—Claire Stetzer, editor, Harlequin

Opening: “Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than patting your boyfriend’s back as his head is in a toilet, barfing up warm Bud Light.”

Author reception

Alisha Rai

While You Were Dreaming (Quill Tree, Mar. 21, 2023; $17.99; 50,000-copy announced first printing; ages 13–up)

Why the buzz: “Alisha is one of the funniest writers—and people—I’ve been lucky enough to work with. Her first YA novel has cringe-inducingly awkward moments, superhero cosplay, and, of course, swoony romance, but it also shines a light on undocumented immigration. I love how the book portrays the push and pull between sisters as well as the power of female friendships. And did I mention the love triangle?”
—Alexandra Cooper, executive editor, Quill Tree Books

Opening: “Nobody would ever say I was the main character in real life. That’s what my daydreams were for.”

BookTok panel

Sara Shepard

Wait for Me (Union Square & Co., Nov. 1; $18.99; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14–up)

Why the buzz: “Sara Shepard always connects with her readers through unputdownable stories featuring protagonists forced to make quick, life-altering decisions as they try to maintain some semblance of normalcy while her trademark twists and turns are in play. Wait for Me showcases all that and more, as Sara ups the stakes with a swoonworthy romance tinged with supernatural elements. I can’t wait for readers to speculate, stay up late, and share their thoughts on Wait for Me.”—Suzy Capozzi, executive editor, Union Square Kids

Opening: “It’s a killer day for a wedding.”

Author reception

R. Eric Thomas

Kings of B’more (Kokila, out now; $18.99; 50,000 copy first printing; ages 12–up)

Why the buzz:Kings of B’more, a summer romp following two queer Black boys who have an epic Ferris Bueller-type day around Baltimore, shows us what can happen when we open ourselves up to the sweetness, intensity, and expansiveness of friendship. It reveals the rewards of telling people how much they mean to us and of being brave enough to follow possibility. It’s the book of the summer—thoughtful, hilarious, hijinks-filled, deeply affecting, and supremely satisfying.”—Joanna Cárdenas, executive editor, Kokila

Opening: “ ‘Now, this is living,’ Linus said, standing in the middle of the empty cemetery.”

Author reception

XiXi Tian

This Place Is Still Beautiful (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, June 7; $18.99; 100,000-copy announced first printing; ages 13–up)

Why the buzz: “XiXi Tian’s debut novel is doing so much, though she makes it look effortless. It’s a sweeping story of sisterhood and family, a gutting and nuanced story about the pernicious legacy of racism, and it features two incredible romances as well. So it’s that perfect kind of novel that is wholly absorbing, while making you think deeply about the issues it touches on, long after you finish the book.”
—Alessandra Balzer, v-p and copublisher, Balzer + Bray

Opening: “The predicted rain on the first day of summer never comes, meaning I can count on two things: my mother spending most of the morning in the garden, and Thom Froggett coming by the Sprinkle Shoppe for a double scoop of Rocky Road in a waffle cone.”

Author reception

Trang Thanh Tran

She Is a Haunting (Bloomsbury Children’s, Feb. 14, 2023; $18.99; 125,000-copy announced first printing; ages 12–up)

Why the buzz: “The best horror doesn’t come from jump scares. It comes from seeing a character you’ve grown to love slowly realize that they are completely, totally screwed. That’s what happens to Jade, a young queer Vietnamese American girl spending the summer in Vietnam with the father who abandoned her family years before. The house he’s turning into a hotel is old and crumbling, it has many secrets in its walls about Jade’s family, and, oh, it also wants to slowly devour them. Trang Thanh Tran blends horror tropes into a fresh story about identity, belonging, family, and history that I can’t stop thinking about.”—Erica Barmash, senior director of marketing and publicity, Bloomsbury

Opening: “This house eats and is eaten.”

Author reception

Seema Yasmin

What the Fact? (Simon & Schuster, Sept. 20, $19.99; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 12–up)

Why the buzz: “Honestly, this is the most important book that I have edited or published in my more-than-20-year career. Dr. Seema Yasmin is an expert on the number-one crisis affecting kids, teenagers, and adults—widespread misinformation and disinformation. If we can’t agree on what facts are, how are we ever going to solve everything else that needs solving? That’s where media literacy comes in, and Seema has written an eye-opening, accessible, sometimes even funny look at not only how we got here, but even more importantly how we can make sense of social media and traditional media, and how to arm ourselves to find truth in a world full of noise.”—Justin Chanda, senior v-p and publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Opening: “Hi, Freethinker. This book is not going to tell you what to think. Let’s just get that out of the way.”

Author reception

Other Writers

Cynthia Leitich Smith

Why the buzz: “Cynthia Leitich Smith is an award-winning and bestselling author; a teacher at Vermont College of Fine Arts’s MFA program in writing for children and young adults program, where she holds the inaugural Katherine Paterson Endowed Chair; the 2021 NSK Neustadt laureate; the generous creator of the Cynsations blog, and cofounder and author-curator of Heartdrum at HarperCollins Children’s Books. Working with Cynthia on Heartdrum has been a dream come true for me: She is generous, wise, and always extremely helpful. She mentors new writers and shares her warmth and wisdom. Cynthia spends a great deal of time helping build the Native writer and illustrator community, and she plans and runs a Native Intensive Writers’ Workshop every August in conjunction with We Need Diverse Books. Sometimes I wonder how she does it all—but she does, with grace and aplomb!”—Rosemary Brosnan, v-p and publisher, Quill Tree Books and Heartdrum

Native Stories Now: keynote and breakfast

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A version of this article appeared in the 06/06/2022 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: Authors and Illustrators to Meet