Nikki Shannon Smith

Alan Bradley, AFBPhotography

Nikki Shannon Smith is from Oakland, California, but she now lives in the Central Valley with her husband and two children. She has worked in elementary education for more than 25 years, and writes everything from picture books to young adult novels.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

Black Is Brown Is Tan by Arnold Adoff

What’s your favorite line from a book?

A lot of books have wonderful lines, but how the book as a whole makes me feel is what stays with me.

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

Nikki Giovanni, Stephen King, Jason Reynolds

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I wanted to become an author because I needed a place to be who I was.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Never, ever give up.