|The new imprint's name and logo pay tribute to the connection between the drumbeat at powwows and the heartbeat it evokes of the Native community.
HarperCollins Children's Books is launching Heartdrum, an imprint focusing on Native titles that will be headed by author Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek) and Rosemary Brosnan, v-p, editorial director, HarperCollins Children's Books.
The imprint will, HarperCollins said, offer a range of "innovative, unexpected, and heartfelt stories by Native creators, informed and inspired by lived experience, with an emphasis on the present and future of Indian Country and on the strength of young Native heroes." In addition, Heartdrum will make an annual donation to the We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) Native Fund to be used for writing workshops.
The first titles, which will begin appearing in winter 2021, include Ancestor Approved, an anthology of stories that take place at an intertribal powwow in Ann Arbor, Mich., edited by Smith, and The Sea in Winter by Christine Day (Upper Skagit). Future projects include novels by Smith and Brian Young (Navajo), as well as a chapter book series by Dawn Quigley (Ojibwe).
Smith has written 15 books for young readers, including Rain Is Not My Indian Name, her debut novel, and Jingle Dancer, her debut picture book, as well as many short stories, poetry and essays. Her blog is Cynsations and she is on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.
Smith said, "I'm deeply honored to be working with legendary editor Rosemary Brosnan to further connect my brilliant, creative community with the most important audience--young readers. Now is the time for positive, heartening change in the form of resonant representation across all age markets and formats. We have life-affirming, page-turning stories to share.
"As a mentor and writing teacher within the Native creative community, I'm constantly wowed by the talent, skill and commitment of our writers and illustrators for young people. Through the Heartdrum imprint and the WNDB Native Writing Workshop series, we'll be able to offer opportunities for support and wide-reaching publication."
Brosnan added: "I am excited to be partnering with Cynthia Leitich Smith on this groundbreaking initiative. Cynthia is deeply knowledgeable about books for children and teens, and about books by Native authors, and I'm delighted that she will lend her expertise to our new venture. There is a dearth of books for children and teens by Native authors, and we will work together to build a strong list."
Suzanne Murphy, president and publisher, HarperCollins Children's Books, commented: "HarperCollins is dedicated to publishing books with a wide breadth of representation so that all children see themselves in the books they read. Drawing on the expertise of Cynthia Leitich Smith, Heartdrum will publish debut and established authors across all genres for children and teens that reflect the diversity of Native people."