Charles Smith

Charles R. Smith, Jr. was born and raised in California. As a child he spent a lot of time reading books and poetry and playing basketball, but during his stint on the high school yearbook committee he fell in love with photography and decided that he wanted to be a professional photography.

Today, Smith combines his experiences in these three areas — writing, photography, and sports — in his work with children's books. Rimshots, his first book, is a collection of stories and poems mixed with gritty black and white photos. While many of his books, like Hoop Kings, Hoop Queens, Tall Tales and Short Takes, focus on basketball, Smith has diverse interests. Baseball gets its due in Diamond Life, while the definition of what it means to be American is celebrated through images and words in I Am America. His recent work celebrates those who have inspired him, such as Muhammad Ali in Twelve Rounds to Glory and subjects he's been interested in since he was a kid, such as The Mighty 12, which celebrates Greek gods and goddesses. Of the distinctive niche Charles R. Smith Jr. fills with his books, he notes, "I want to show students, particularly boys, that there are many ways to pursue their interests, no matter what they may be."

Smith lives in Poughkeepsie, New York, with his wife and their three children.

Books by This Author

Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson

Illustrated by: Shane Evans
Age Level: 6-9
Arthur John Johnson became known as Black Jack, the world's first black heavyweight champion and one of the best known boxers of the 20th century. Readers meet him through a rhythmic text and bold illustrations that present a clever, hardworking, and confident man. The book is published just in time to commemorate the anniversary of historic fight, July 4, 1910.

Dance with Me

Illustrated by: Noah Jones
Age Level: 0-3
Join two children as they shake and dance and enjoy their neighborhood and get others to join in on the beat. Rhythmic language and jaunty, child-like illustrations make a trek all the way to a party.

I Am America

Age Level: 3-6

Look how different we are and see how much we are the same! Readers will surely see themselves in the pages of this book, which is full of color photographs of children's faces. The rhyming text and images celebrate the tapestry of cultures, religions, and physical appearances of children throughout the United States.

Let's Play Baseball

Illustrated by: Terry Widener
Age Level: 3-6

A baseball encourages a boy to play the game, to enjoy the sounds, excitement, and camaraderie of the game. The short, rhyming text is accompanied by humorous illustrations for a playful look at baseball for younger children.

Rimshots: Basketball Pix, Rolls, & Rhythms

Age Level: 9-12
A range of emotions flows from each short piece in poetry and prose as readers share the ups and downs of basketball. Sophisticated readers will see themselves in both word and image, all attractively formatted in a distinctive design.

Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali

Age Level: 9-12
This sophisticated biography briefly examines the life of Muhammad Ali. Born Cassius Clay, Ali changed more than just his name through his confidence and convictions. A staccato rhythm emulates a rap and Ali's words to combine with illustrations for a memorable look at a unforgettable figure.

Winning Words: Sports Stories & Photographs

Short stories about a variety of sports not only focus on young people's participation but are used as a device to highlight a specific and important quality such as self-confidence. The tone of each story ranges from serious to humorous but each ends with a quote from a well-known figure and complemented by Smith's artful photographs.