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What do Indian shoes look like, anyway? Like beautiful beaded moccasins...or hightops with bright orange shoelaces?
Ray Halfmoon prefers hightops, but he gladly trades them for a nice pair of moccasins for his Grampa. After all, it's Grampa Halfmoon who's always there to help Ray get in and out of scrapes -- like the time they are forced to get creative after a homemade haircut makes Ray's head look like a lawn-mowing accident.
This collection of interrelated stories is heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny. Cynthia Leitich Smith writes with wit and candor about what it's like to grow up as a Seminole-Cherokee boy who is just as happy pounding the pavement in windy Chicago as rowing on a take in rural Oklahoma.
About the Author
Like Rain, author Cynthia Leitich Smith was raised, at least in part, in northeastern Kansas. Smith attended college in Douglas County, the home of fictional Hannesburg, and completed a journalism degree at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. During college, she worked at a few small-town newspapers as a reporter. Then she earned a law degree at the University of Michigan. Today she lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two gray tabby cats. She's a mixed blood, enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Cynthia Smith is also the author of the picture book Jingle Dancer, which Publishers Weekly called a "heartening portrait of a harmonious meshing of old and new"In Her Own Words
I'm a mid-to-southwestern kind of gal. Growing up, I lived in the Kansas City area, on both the Kansas and Missouri sides of the state line, and as I grew older, I lived in Oklahoma, Michigan, and Illinois. Today Austin, Texas, is my home.
I was an only child, whose constant companions were a dog named Sir Gahald XIII (but called "Tramp") and an array of library books.
I developed an interest in reading at an early age, and won my local public library reading contest in Grandview, Missouri, when I was in the third grade. Some of my favorite books were Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume; and Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. Through reading I cultivated a desire to write, and published my first piece in the "Dear Gaby" column in the sixth-grade paper.
My interest in writing continued through high school, during which I edited the newspaper and pursued both dancing and cheerleading. After finishing high school in 1986, I went on to become the first person in my family to graduate from college. There I spent much of my time writing as a minority issues reporter for the campus newspaper and eventually completed my undergraduate studies in 1991 with a degree in journalism.
I never thought of writing and reading fiction as a viable career option, and so I finished law school in 1994, where I had been president of the Native American Law Student's Association. For a while I worked in a federal law job in Chicago, but I was bored. I decided that in order to be happy I needed to turn to something that not only mattered to me, but also affected others in a positive way. So I quit my job and embarked on a new career as a children's author
What I enjoy most about writing are the challenges. I like writing for different genres, and have so far written a picture book, a chapter book, and a middle-grade novel. Truthfully, I just want to continue improving. Once I create my characters, they begin to fashion the setting and plot around themselves. I assume very little at the beginning, and am always surprised by what I find.
I know that people often characterize my stories as "Native American" or of some similar nature and that's fine for reference purposes, but I intend for my books to go deeper than that. I try to weave real life into the stories naturally, helping me to attain my goal of offering a unique cultural and literary world through characters that laugh, cry, breathe, and, most importantly, live.
Praise for Indian Shoes…
A very pleasing first-chapter book from its funny and tender opening salvo to its heartwarming closer.
Shoes is a good book for any elementary-aged reluctant reader, and a necessity for indigenous children everywhere.
-School Library Journal
This book ably springs Ray Halfmoon free from the paint-and-feathers representations of American Indians
-Chicago Sunday Tribune
“…this is a book so permeated with affection that many readers will just bask in the warmth [of it]…”
-Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books