Katie Smith Milway — Author

Katie Smith Milway headshot


The Banana-Leaf Ball, 2017
Mimi’s Village, 2012
The Good Garden, 2010
One Hen, 2008


Katie Smith Milway, winner of the 2009 Notable Book for a Global Society Award and the 2009 Children’s Africana Book Award for One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference, is on a quest to bring world issues to elementary and middle school children. One Hen, set in Ghana, introduces kids to microfinance and the power of social entrepreneurship, and gave rise to the nonprofit organization One Hen, Inc. (www.onehen.org), which offers downloadable resources for educators to teach financial literacy and giving back.

Her 2010 book, The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough, is set in the Honduran hillsides and introduces kids to the concept of food security and how each of us, at any age, can combat global hunger (www.thegoodgarden.org). And her latest book, Mimi’s Village: And How Basic Health Care Transformed It, set in Kenya, connects kids' actions for global health to results in Africa.

Katie is also a partner at nonprofit and philanthropy advisor The Bridgespan Group in Boston. She serves on the board of World Vision U.S., has coordinated community development programs in Latin America and Africa for Food for the Hungry International and was a delegate to the 1992 Earth Summit. She has written several adult books on sustainable development, including The Human Farm: A Tale of Changing Lives and Changing Lands (Kumarian Press, 1994), which documented the work of sustainable agriculture pioneer Don Elias Sánchez (role model for The Good Garden’s teacher).

Prior to Bridgespan, Katie served as editorial director and founding publisher at Bain & Co. A graduate of Stanford University, the Free University of Brussels and INSEAD, Katie spent a decade working in and around more than a dozen countries in Africa and Latin America on sustainable development projects, including village banking, food security, primary health care, water resourcing and education.

Q & A

New Milford, Connecticut.

June 2nd.

When did you start writing?
I first published my work in grade three: “The Dusty Box.”

Where do you live now?
Wellesley, Massachusetts.

What is your favorite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird.

Do you have any pets?
A beautiful ragdoll cat named Nimbus.

What is your favorite food?
Lobster tails, rolls, bisque, anything.

What are your hobbies?
These days? Traveling with my husband and being a good spectator for my three kids when they do their things in sports and music.

What was your training or schooling?
Bachelor of Arts in English, Masters in International Relations and a Masters in Business Administration.

How did you get involved with children’s books?
I started telling stories to kids I babysat. Then one day I decided to write one down for the Canadian children’s fiction contest. It became my first book with Kids Can Press, about a cow that liked the color “Bloooooo.”

Do you have any tips for young creators?
Enter a contest — at the minimum, you'll get valuable feedback.

What is your favorite movie?
Gone with the Wind.

What is the thing you like the most about creating kids books?
Flights of fancy; inspiring my own children to empathize and help others.

Where do you work?
In Boston — I am a partner at The Bridgespan Group.

How do you research or create your stories?
Reflect on my days as an international aid worker, travel, the Internet and imagination.

Where do you get your ideas?
From a lifetime of cross-cultural work and listening to people’s stories.

What’s your greatest childhood memory?
Visiting my grandmother at her house in Venice, Florida, collecting shark’s teeth on the beach, playing with dolphins, watching the pelicans dive for fish — and catch them — and one day, at age six, meeting Walter Farley — a friend of my grandmother’s and author of The Black Stallion.

What is your favorite animal?

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A polyglot.

What is the weirdest or most interesting job you've ever had?
Reconnoitering the Maya Biosphere Reserve in northern Guatemala in dugout canoes and torrential downpours with a team of ecologists and the companionship of howler monkeys.

Do you have any special secrets or insights about one of your books or characters?
They are all based on real people doing real good in their communities. I hear their voices in my head when I write — pleasant, inspiring company.


Mimi’s Village

2013 - Red Cedar Award, BC Young Reader’s Choice, Short-listed
2013 - Hackmatack’s Children’s Choice Book Award, Short-listed
2013 - Best Books for Kids & Teens, Starred Selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Winner
2013 - Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street Children’s Book Committee, Winner

One Hen

2010 - Alberta Children’s Choice Rocky Mountain Book Award, Short-listed
2010 - Golden Oak Award, Ontario Library Association, Winner
2009 - Outstanding International Book, USBBY, Winner
2009 - Norma Fleck Award, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Short-listed
2009 - Silver Birch Award, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed
2009 - Notable Book for a Global Society, International Reading Association, Winner
2009 - Children’s Africana Book Award, African Studies Association, Winner
2009 - Children’s Choices, International Reading Association, Winner
2009 - Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Winner
2009 - Best Bet for Children and Teens, Ontario Library Association, Winner
2008 - Skipping Stones Honor Award, Winner
2008 - Massachusetts Book Award, Winner

The Good Garden

2012 - Alberta Children’s Choice Rocky Mountain Book Award, Short-listed
2011 - Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Winner
2011 - Skipping Stones Honor Award, Skipping Stones Magazine, Winner
2011 - Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street Children’s Book Committee, Winner
2010 - Best Bets Nonfiction, Ontario Library Association, Winner