“I write because creating something that didn’t exist before is as close to magic as I’ll ever get.”


Danna (Dan-ah) Smith

When I was young, a pen was my favorite toy. I grew up weaving words into silly poems or stories that sparked emotion.

I wrote my first poem when I was eight, my first short story when I was ten, and my first picture book when I was seventeen. However, it took years of practice and perseverance before I sold my first picture book manuscript to Disney-Hyperion in 2004.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, I was exposed to all sorts of creatures through my father who trained, bred, and rehabilitated animals.  It was not uncommon to find bobcats, alligators, monkeys, hawks, or even vultures at my home.  A love of animals and nature has spilled over into my love of writing.  

Today my favorite toy is a keyboard. I currently live and create at my home in beautiful northern California wine country.


I am represented by Tracy Marchini at Bookends Literary Agency.

Publishers I’ve worked with

Disney-Hyperion, Henry Holt, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion), Random House Doubleday, Little Golden Books, Amicus Ink, Simon & Schuster, Arbordale, Candlewick Press, and Barefoot Books.

Book Awards and Honors
  • Starred Review Publishers Weekly
  • Starred Review School Library Journal 
  • A Junior Library Guild Selection 
  • Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2018 
  • A 2018 Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year
  • Chicago Public Library’s list of Best Informational Books for Younger Readers 2017 
  • Reviewed in the New York Times
  • Reviewed in The Wall Street Journal
  • Featured in Parenting Magazine: The Early Years
  • SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Crystal Kite Award Finalist 2017
  • Missourian Baby Buzz Pick
  • An Amazon Best Children’s Book of the Month selection
  • Scholastic Book Fair Selection
  • Nominee for the Colorado Libraries of Early Literacy 2016 CLEL Bell Picture book award
  • A Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award nominee
  • Finalist in Florida Reading Association Book Award
  • Gold Medal winner / Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Award
  • Selected in Alaska Association of School Librarian’s Battle of the Books.
  • 2014 New Books for Missouri Students Selection
  • Literati’s Best 25 Books of 2017
  • A Raising Reader special edition board book
  • Children’s Literary Classic Seal of Approval
  • Creative Child’s Magazine top Creative Toy Award-Seal of Excellence