Traci grew up immersed in stories. The ones her mother told at bedtime and the accounts of her ancestors’ lives mirrored her Cherokee mixed-blood heritage. Books she brought home from the library and selected during her school’s annual Reading is Fundamental (RIF) Day showed a world beyond her life in rural northeastern Oklahoma.
As an adult, Traci has lived in four U.S. time zones and abroad in Madrid, Spain. Her early writing reflected the Native American history, law, and policy focus of her educational and professional background.
Now she lives in the Kansas City area with her husband and young son, but spends a fair amount of time with family in Oklahoma participating in Cherokee Nation events. She started writing for young people when she wanted more contemporary fiction and nonfiction children’s books featuring Native Americans to share with her son. Traci’s first nonfiction picture book, WE ARE GRATEFUL: OTSALIHELIGA (Charlesbridge, 2018), features the universal spirit of gratitude as experienced through modern Cherokee culture across the four seasons.