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From Scholarship to Workshop to Book with Traci Sorell

In 2017, Traci Sorell received a scholarship to attend the Novels in Verse workshop at the Highlights Foundation.

You might think, perhaps, that this story will be about the novel in verse she worked on there.  But it’s not, for the most part.

While attending that workshop and staying in Cabin #7, Traci made some breakthroughs on a picture book manuscript she’d been drafting.  That book, called Powwow Day (written by Traci and illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight), was just published on February 8, 2022.

Powwow Day wouldn’t be in the world if I hadn’t gone to where the magic happened in Cabin 7, and revised that manuscript instead of working on a NIV while I was there,” shared Traci with a laugh.

Cabin 7 with Traci's name tab

“I sold it to Karen Boss at Charlesbridge shortly after I left that weekend. Kathy Erskine, Alma Fullerton, and the workshop attendees helped so much in listening to me share it, as well as making wonderful revision suggestions,” she added.

But the story doesn’t end there. 

A connection Traci made at that same Novels in Verse workshop had another result; this time for a NIV.

“Charles Waters also attended that workshop. We visited, and we knew we wanted to work on something together. In Fall 2023, we have a middle grade novel in verse coming out called Mascot.  It will be published by Charlesbridge and again edited by Karen Boss,” she said.

Celebrating with Traci

Traci’s book birthday for Powwow Day coincided with her actual 50th birthday on February 7.  If you’d like to celebrate with her, you can do so with a contribution to the Highlights Foundation Indigenous Storyteller Scholarship fund in her honor.  Donate via the Facebook fundraiser here, or on our website here.  Traci kicked off the giving on February 15, 2022 with a generous donation to help fund the scholarship.

Thank you for your donation and for being a part of our community, Traci!  We appreciate you sharing your story, and the work you do to inspire children.


Cherokee Nation citizen and award-winning author Traci Sorell writes fiction and nonfiction books, short stories and poems for children. A former federal Indigenous law attorney and advocate, Traci lives with her family on her tribe’s reservation in northeastern Oklahoma. Find out more about her work online at tracisorell.com or @tracisorell via Twitter and Instagram.

Posted on: February 14, 2022