346: Curating a Middle Grade Anthology of Intertribal Stories – Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith


Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Cynthia Leitich Smith.

Cynthia is a New York Times bestselling author known for her award-winning children’s and YA books. She writes both realistic contemporary stories and fantastical narratives, and most recently, she won the American Indian Youth Literature YA Award for Hearts Unbroken published by Candlewick.

Today we’ll be discussing one of her most recent projects: Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for kids, a middle grade anthology published by Heartdrum, a Native-focused imprint at HarperChildren’s where Cynthia is the author-curator. In addition to her work in publishing, she is also on the faculty of the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a citizen of Mvskoke Nation and makes her home in Austin, Texas.

In this episode Cynthia and I discuss:

  • How the lack of Native representation in Middle Grade books inspired Cynthia’s writing and the impetus for Heartdrum.
  • What elements are important to include when writing specifically for Middle Graders and how MG is distinct from YA.
  • Why it’s important to create an inclusive feeling  of a “we” not “me” book within diverse literature.

Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

For more info and show notes: diymfa.com/346

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