Hybrid Writer

Traci

Sorell

Traci Sorell writes award-winning poems, fiction and nonfiction works for young people. Born and raised in northeastern Oklahoma, she is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and currently lives by Fort Gibson Lake. Her debut nonfiction picture book, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga (Charlesbridge, 2018) illustrated by Frané Lessac, centers on contemporary Cherokee Nation citizens and how gratitude is experienced in Cherokee culture across the four seasons. It won a 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Award Picture Book Honor, a 2019 Sibert Honor, a 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Honor and a 2019 Orbis Pictus Honor. The book also received four starred reviews (Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Horn Book and Shelf Awareness) and a 2020 Odyssey Honor Award for the audiobook produced by Live Oak Media in 2019. Traci casted fellow Cherokee Nation citizens – Lauren Hummingbird, Agalisiga Mackey, Ryan Mackey and Tonia Hogner-Weavel – for the recording. Traci’s middle grade historical fiction novel, Indian No More (Tu Books, 2019), co-authored with the late Charlene Willing McManis (Umpqua), explores the impact of federal termination and relocation policies on an Umpqua family in the 1950s. It won the 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Award for Middle School Book, received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Booklist and selected as the top choice for the Global Read Aloud’s Upper Elementary/Middle Grade book. Her lyrical story in verse, At the Mountain’s Base (Kokila, 2019), illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre (Tongva), celebrates the bonds of family and the bravery of history-making women pilots, including Millie Rexroat (Oglala Lakota). The book received a 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Award Picture Book Honor and three starred trade reviews (School Library Journal, Booklist and Shelf Awareness). Traci previously taught at the University of North Dakota School of Law and the University of New Mexico. She also worked as an attorney assisting tribal courts nationwide, advocated for national Native American health care, and directed a national nonprofit serving American Indian and Alaska Native elders. Traci received her law degree from the University of Wisconsin and her MA from the University of Arizona with the concentration in federal Indian law and policy. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Berkeley, with a BA in Native American Studies and a minor in Ethnic Studies. While at Cal, she spent her junior year at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain. Traci is a first-generation college graduate. In addition to writing, Traci mentors Native creators seeking to trade publish work for young people. She taught a picture book writing class for OSU-Tulsa’s Center for Writers and Poets in 2020. Traci is a frequent speaker about the need for more culturally accurate representations of Indigenous people and Native Nations in all works published for children and teens. Sorell serves as a 2021 Tulsa Artist Fellow.