All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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A video interview with

Sherri L. Smith

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Sherri Smith was born in Chicago and spent her childhood in Staten Island, NY, Washington D.C., and Upstate New York. Her parents divorced when she was twelve, and a year later, she moved back to Chicago with her mother and big brother. After high school, it was off to New York City for college, San Francisco for graduate school, and then Los Angeles, to make movies.

Smith has worked in film, animation, and comic books. Her film highlights include Tim Burton's MARS ATTACKS!, where she worked in stop-motion animation. Smith also worked for three years at Disney TV Animation, helping to create stories for animated home video projects.

Currently, Smith spends her nights writing novels, and her days working at Bongo, the comic book company that brings you THE SIMPSONS in print.

Smith lives in Los Angeles with the love of her life, and is currently working on her next book — a futuristic book about the fate of New Orleans after storms and quarantines.

Selected Books

from Sherri L. Smith


Age Level: 12-14

During World War II, an African-American woman named Ida decides to pass as white in order to become a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot). The book focuses on the lives and adventures of these pilots, making it a fast-paced, lively read. Though there is no official record of an African-American in the WASPS, the other historical details are accurate and informative.

Buy Flygirl


Age Level: 12-14

Family sticks with family. That's the golden rule G'ma taught Kendall. But once G'ma's gone, Kendall has no family left-except for Aunt Janet whom she barely remembers. With child services on Kendall's case and just 10 days to get her apartment lease renewed, Kendall sets out for Janet's home in New Orleans to get her life in order-and her questions answered.

Buy Sparrow

Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet

Age Level: 12-14

Ana Shen has what her social studies teacher calls a "marvelously biracial, multicultural family" but what Ana simply calls a Chinese-American father and an African-American mother. And on eighth-grade graduation day, that's a recipe for disaster. Both sets of grandparents are in town to celebrate, and Ana's best friend has convinced her to invite Jamie Tabata-the cutest boy in school—for a home-cooked meal.

Buy Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet

Lucy the Giant

Age Level: 14-16

Lucy Otswego is a big girl who towers over just about everyone and everything in her small Alaskan town-except for her father's reputation as a mean drunk. At fifteen, Lucy runs away from the cruel classmates who see her only as the Giant, the neighboring adults who pity her, and the abusive father whose fleeting attention is worse than his indifference. When the crew of a crabbing boat assumes she's much older than she is and invites her to sign on for the season, she jumps at the chance to escape her teenage life.

Buy Lucy the Giant