HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Traci Chee

New York Times Bestselling and Award-Winning Author of We Are Not Free


  • Teenagers in Topaz: Young People & the Japanese American Incarceration of World War II
  • The Importance of Foolishness: A Novelist’s Journey
  • History Is Not Dead
  • An Evening with Traci Chee


More Media

Traci Chee is a bestselling and award-winning author of books for young people, including the instant New York Times bestseller and Kirkus Prize Finalist The Reader and Printz Honor Book, Walter Award Honoree, and National Book Award Finalist We Are Not Free (Clarion Books). Her most recent title is A Thousand Steps into Night (Clarion Books).

Through her page-turning stories, Chee has captivated readers of all ages, providing an opportunity to immerse yourself into its spell-binding worlds. With the same warmth and candor, Chee offers audiences an inside look at the inspiration behind her work and the way in which stories of historical fiction can offer a chance to reflect on the past as a way to understand the present. A highly sought after speaker, Chee is the perfect presenter for schools, libraries, historical societies, and community read programs.

When Chee isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, egg painting, gardening, and hosting game nights for family and friends. She lives in California with her fast dog.

Praise for We Are Not Free:

"A compelling and transformative story of a tragic period in American history....Each voice is powerful, evoking raw emotions of fear, anger, resentment, uncertainty, grief, pride, and love....An unforgettable must-read."
--Kirkus, STARRED review

"Chee is a master storyteller…. Here, she uses her own San Francisco–based Japanese American family's history to inform a blazing and timely indictment of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. Her passion and personal involvement combine with her storytelling talents to create a remarkable and deeply moving account of the incarceration…. [We Are Not Free] should become required curriculum reading on a shameful and relevant chapter in U.S. history."
--Booklist, STARRED review

"The novel may be fiction, but it will be hard for readers not to fall deep into the harsh realities these teens face. The writing is engaging and emotionally charged, allowing the readers to connect with each character...Chee’s words are a lot to take in, but necessary and beautiful all the same."
--School Library Journal, STARRED review

"Inspired by Chee’s family history, the book powerfully depicts, as an author’s note states, “a mere fraction of what this generation went through.” This is an essential contribution to the understanding of the wide-ranging experiences impacting people of Japanese ancestry in the U.S. during WWII."
--Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

"A brilliant and intimate portrayal of several San Francisco teenagers during the mass incarceration of Japanese-Americans in World War II. Chee's nuanced and unforgettable characters will serve to enlighten readers about this devastating and shameful piece of America's past. A beautiful, painful, and necessary work of historical fiction."
--Veera Hiranandani, Newbery Honor winning author of The Night Diary

“Traci Chee masterfully weaves together harrowing truths about the mass incarceration of Japanese and Japanese-Americans during WWII, and features a cast of friends whose honesty, strength, and love for one another will break your heart. With characters who need to have their stories told, and a history that should never be forgotten, WE ARE NOT FREE is powerful, moving, and so incredibly necessary.”
--Akemi Dawn Bowman, Morris Award Finalist and author of Starfish

“These powerful interconnected stories of incarceration during WWII told by Nisei youth will wrap around your heart like barbed wire. With deft touches of humor, heart, pathos, and anger, We Are Not Free by the talented Traci Chee is the best Japanese American incarceration novel I’ve read. I loved this book that epitomized gaman and will be buying a copy for everyone in my family.”
--Debbi Michiko Florence

“This novel is nothing short of a masterpiece. In We Are Not Free, Traci Chee gives us the most comprehensive novelization of the Japanese American internment that I've ever read, without sacrificing the intimate and achingly human individual experience. Traci Chee's characters don't step off the page so much as they shuffle, sashay, and swagger. With them, you will blaze with incandescent rage, crumble with internalized shame, and laugh with true, soul-deep joy. Each individual voice, each individual story is a gem; taken as a whole, they are an unforgettable wonder that you will want to return to again and again.”
--Misa Sugiura, author of This Time Will Be Different and It's Not Like It's a Secret, winner of the 2018 APALA Award for YA Literature


Praise for A Thousands Steps into Night:

A dark fantasy with welcome moments of levity, this story will charm fans of Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. A captivating read rich in atmosphere."
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ "Chee once again creates a lush fantasy world that revolves around a girl discovering her own power…[and] never takes the path that’s expected."
--School Library Journal, starred review

★ "Intricate plotting; a vivid, multifaceted cast; and immersive worldbuilding provide plenty for readers to sink their teeth into in this triumphant fantasy.
--Publishers Weekly, starred review