Hearts Unbroken

Hearts Unbroken

Written by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Published in 2018 by Candlewick Press (Links to an external site.)


Louise (Lou) Wolfe describes herself as “an urban—make that suburban Indian. Unlike my parents, I’ve never lived full-time in my own tribal community. But it’s home.” Lou’s family moved from Texas to Kansas during her junior year. She dated star athlete, Cam Ryan, but broke up with him when he made racist comments.


Now Lou is a senior, working on the school newspaper—the Hive—and sharing the features beat with the new boy in school, Joey Kairouz, who soon becomes a love interest. In the meantime, Lou’s brother Hughie is a freshman and has his heart set on auditioning for the school musical, The Wizard of Oz.


The new faculty advisor is committed to a more inclusive approach to casting, to which a group of parents respond by forming PART (Parents Against Revisionist Theater) and levelling accusations of “reverse racism.” Hughie is thrilled to be cast in the role of the Tin Man, however, he is soon targeted by threatening letters: “There is no place like home. Go back to where you came from.”  When he discovers the truth about L. Frank Baum’s racist writings advocating for genocide of Native people, Hughie decides to quit the musical. Despite this, the Wolfe’s home is vandalized.


Lou is devoted to supporting Hughie and to using her position at the Hive to raise awareness, but along the way she risks losing her best friend, Shelby, and her relationship with Joey.


Introducing the Author:


Visit Cynthia Leitich Smith’s website (Links to an external site.).


Listen to Cynthia Leitich Smith talk about writing on the Yarn podcast (Links to an external site.).


Read this interview (Links to an external site.) with Cythia Leitich Smith.


Read this Nerdy Book Club post (Links to an external site.) written by Cynthia Leitich Smith.


Learning More About the Book:


Read these reviews of Hearts Unbroken:


Kirkus (Links to an external site.)


American Indians in Children’s Literature

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