On Writing About Difficult Topics in Picture Books: Check Out This Cynsations Article

What are the “three Hs and an A” of exploring difficult subject matter in picturebooks?

In 2020, I had the honor of appearing on a panel at the SCBWI-Austin online monthly meeting with authors Cindy Baldwin and Bethany Hegedus as we discussed the challenges of “Writing About Difficult Topics for Young Readers.”

Recently, I presented some of the information (and more) that I shared that day in the article CASTING LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS: WRITING FOR YOUNG READERS ON DIFFICULT TOPICS, now appearing on the Cynsations website.

Drawing from my experiences as the author of WHEN A KID LIKE ME FIGHTS CANCER and other picture books, I offer gentle guidelines to keep in mind for writers who strive to tackle a topic for kids with honesty and sensitivity.

You can check out the article here: https://cynthialeitichsmith.com/2020/11/guest-post-catherine-stier-on-casting-light-in-the-darkness-writing-for-young-readers-on-difficult-topics/

Thank you to Cynsations for this opportunity!


I’m in a magazine this month! Thrilled that Julianne Black DiBlasi interviewed me about my book A VOTE IS A POWERFUL THING for the December issue of STORY MONSTERS INK. https://www.facebook.com/StoryMonsters/


A VOTE IS A POWERFUL THING makes Horn Book’s List: “Make Your Voice Heard”

Ahem (modestly clearing throat).
The Horn Book’s “Book Bundles: Make Your Voice Heard” includes A VOTE IS A POWERFUL THING among only three “new books to inspire kids to get involved & make a difference.”

Check it out here:  


Announcing a Free Theatrical Production of IF I WERE PRESIDENT based on the book by Catherine Stier

So excited to share:

PLAYERS, PERFORMERS, & PORTRAYERS PRESENTS READING OF IF I WERE PRESIDENT by CATHERINE STIER Based off of the children’s book of the same name, the politically-themed children’s play IF I WERE PRESIDENT will be presented just in time for the election! YOUTUBE (NOVEMBER 2nd, 2020).

What would it be like to be President of the United States? Imagine living in the White House, a mansion where you wouldn’t have to leave home to go bowling or see a movie! Imagine a chef to cook anything you like. “Two desserts tonight, Madam President. No problem!” As eleven-year-old Abby leads a group of neighbor kids on Election Night in a magical exploration of what it would be like to be President of the United States – from living in a stately mansion with a bowling alley to helping a town devastated by disaster – new friendships are forged and each child’s own surprising leadership skills emerge during their often funny, sometimes moving adventure at the White House and beyond.

Based on the award-winning children’s book, If I Were President (Albert Whitman & Co.), this play offers a high-energy exploration of the perks and responsibilities of the highest office of the land as experienced by five children who are magically transported to the White House on the night of the presidential election. As the children take turns being president that night, they discover their own strengths and the truth about what it means to be a leader.

“Mixing in a bit of magic and loads of imagination, If I Were President offers a kid’s-eye, sometimes funny and sometimes poignant view of what it could be like to be president,” says author Catherine Stier. “It all takes place on Election Night, when five kids are magically transported to the White House, so now is the perfect time to present this new and, I hope, playful and uplifting production.”

Catherine Stier was one of six playwrights selected to participate in the Magik Theatre New Playwrights Program at the Magik Theatre in San Antonio, TX. It was in this program that she developed the script If I Were President. This production will be directed by Emily Hawkins. The cast of the reading will include Julia Stier, Celia Rivera, Mikey Takla, Jennings Humphries, Kristen Clarke, Grace Sallee, and Jacob Litvack. The show will be presented FREE to interested elementary schools.

To register, please email players.performers.portrayers@gmail.com for show link.

Have little ones at home? Register for your FREE show link by visiting https://www.playersperformersandportrayers.com/productions


Introducing my new picture book, WHEN A KID LIKE ME FIGHTS CANCER, just released by Albert Whitman in association with the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

The title offers a realistic but gentle exploration of the changes that come and support that can be found following a diagnosis of childhood cancer as experienced by a young child.

When a young boy finds out he has cancer, he learns a lot right away. He learns that cancer is something you fight, and that cancer isn’t anyone’s fault – especially not his.  He discovers that many things change with cancer, but some of the most important things stay the same.  He also learns that having cancer is easier when everyone around him wants to help him fight.

Kirkus lauds it as “Targeted and right on target.”

The research medical journal The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health notes “Stier writes in a way that engages all and her style of language and simple sentences can help children understand a complex and heavy topic.”

(see full review here:https://twitter.com/LancetChildAdol/status/1172149133525835777)

When I received my own cancer diagnosis, I turned to books to help make sense of it all (and there are plenty for grown-ups).  It’s my hope that now some kids in this situation, and the people who know and love them, will find information and encouragement in this book.

Announcing Upcoming Author Appearances

Please join me for these upcoming events…

Hurray For These Local Booksellers

I’ve been asked where IF I WERE A PARK RANGER is available locally – so put together a little note of appreciation to those SA bookstores kind enough to support this local author (and some have signed copies)…

Please join me at these upcoming IF I WERE A PARK RANGER launch events

See You at TLA in Austin!


Coming Soon from Albert Whitman & Co. (but available for pre-order NOW!).  IF I WERE A PARK RANGER!

Know someone who is a fan of our beautiful national parks?  Or an aspiring or working park ranger?  Or any kid who loves nature?  So excited to share news of my new book…

If you were a national park ranger, you’d spend every day in one of the most treasured places in America. You’d have an amazing job protecting animals, the environment, and our country’s natural and historical heritage, from the wilds of Denali to the Statue of Liberty!

Kirkus lauds the book as “A great way to introduce children to a not-often depicted career path and maybe to spark some interest in our country’s national treasures as well.”

Release date April 2019 but available for pre-order at your favorite bookseller.