Book cover of Hearts Unbroken

Hearts Unbroken



Publisher & Publication Year

Candlewick, 2018

Publisher's Book Page


Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Nation)

Author's Website 




Louise Wolfe starts her senior year of high school by dumping her boyfriend after he makes disparaging remarks about Native peoples. With a positive mindset, Lou sets out to finish high school strong by working on the school newspaper, spending time with friends, and supporting her brother as he plays the Tin Man in the school’s musical production of “The Wizard of Oz.” But not everyone in their Kansas town supports the musical director’s inclusive casting choice. As animosities rise to the surface with anonymous threats and a “Parents Against Revisionist Theater” group, Lou’s family, friends, and town choose whether or not to reckon with a difficult history.

Notable Achievements

2019 ALA Amelia Bloomer List, Young Adult Fiction; 2019 Kansas National Education Association Reading Circle YA Section; 2020 Teaching for Change: Social Justice Books Selection; 2020 Spotlight on Diversity Title, New England Book Show; 2021 Short List, All Iowa Reads! (Teen); American Indian Youth Literature Award Winner, Young Adult, 2020; Featured in “Art and Activism Call for Freedoms” exhibit, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art; Bank Street Best Books List, 2018; Featured Title, Texas Book Festival; Featured Title, Tuscon Festival of Books; Foreword Reviews Young Adult Fiction Award, 2018 Silver Medal; Just One More Page Recommendation, Wisconsin Reading Association, 2019; National Indian Education Association, Fall 2018 YA Recommendation; Native Ways of Knowing Book List; November 2021 Everytown’s Moms Demand Book Club; Read In Color Recommended Reading List (Little Free Library); Representative Text, 2021 NSK Neustadt Laureate


Publishers Weekly: “Smith’s timely novel considers racial prejudice witnessed and experienced by Muscogee (Creek) Native Louise Wolfe as she pursues typical senior-year activities in a suburban Kansas town.”

Kirkus Reviews: “Muscogee (Creek) girl Louise ‘Lou’ Wolfe confronts the politics of being Native in an overwhelmingly white high school while finding first love.”

School Library Journal: “Blending teen romance with complex questions of identity, equality, and censorship, this is an excellent choice for most collections.”

Educator Guide

This educator guide includes information about the book and the author, discussion questions, and curriculum connections.

Link to Guide

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