Nikki Shannon Smith

Storyteller: Nikki Shannon Smith

Nikki Shannon Smith was born and raised in Oakland, CA. She is the author of twelve books, ranging from picture books to young adult. Her latest book is Lena and the Burning of Greenwood: A Tulsa Race Massacre Survival Story. Her work includes the Azaleah Lane chapter book series and five titles in Capstone’s multi- author, historical fiction/adventure, middle-grade series, Girls Survive. Nikki also wrote A Star Like Jesse Owens, a Smithsonian Historical Fiction title about the 1936 Olympics. Nikki’s forthcoming titles include Our Beautiful Colors (Random House/Little Golden Books, 2022) and a board book series called Brown Baby Parade (Random House Children’s Books, 2022, 2023, 2024). Her writing is informed not only by her research but by her child-like curiosity and nearly 30 years of elementary school teaching experience. She is represented by Jennifer March Soloway of Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Photo credit: Alan Bradley of AFBPhotography)

On writing for children:

“Books serve so many purposes. They teach. They entertain. They comfort. They open portals to other worlds, cultures, and experiences. They foster imagination and creativity. They make us feel. And ideally, they reflect the world around us. My goal as an author is to contribute books that do all of this, while at the same time providing authentic representation for Black children.”

What was the most valuable or memorable experience of AMPLIFY for you?

The Amplify Black Stories program was such an uplifting, empowering program. In addition to the wonderful sense of community it created, having Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati tell us (in no uncertain terms) that we are famous now and that our books need to be face out on our Zoom backgrounds was an important reminder to never underestimate or undervalue ourselves.

Nikki Shannon Smith

Follow Nikki Shannon Smith:

Our Beautiful Colors (Little Golden Book)
Love Is All Around (Brown Baby Parade)
Lena and the Burning of Greenwood
A Star Like Jesse Owens (Smithsonian Historical Fiction)
The Scientific Life of Azaleah Lane
The Scrumptious Life of Azaleah Lane
The Dramatic Life of Azaleah Lane
The Amazing Life of Azaleah Lane
Sarah Journeys West- An Oregon Trail Survival Story (Girls Survive)
Charlotte Spies for Justice- A Civil War Survival Story (Girls Survive)
Ann Fights for Freedom- An Underground Railroad Survival Story (Girls Survive)
Noelle at Sea- A Titanic Survival Story (Girls Survive)
Treasure Hunt (Reality Show)
The Little Christmas Elf (Little Golden Book)

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The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.