about me


Clete Barrett Smith’s first novel for teens, Mr. 60%, will be released by Crown Books in August, 2017. Smith has also written four humorous middle grade adventures: Aliens on Vacation Alien on a Rampage, Aliens in Disguise, and Magic Delivery. Aliens on Vacation was released by Disney-Hyperion Books for Children in May, 2011 and named an American Booksellers Council “New Voices” selection as one of the top middle grade novels of the year by a debut author; and AOV was nominated for state award lists in Texas, Florida, Washington, Pennsylvania and Nebraska. A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Clete Barrett Smith taught English, Drama and Speech at the high school level for over twenty years. Clete received his MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010. He currently lives in Bellingham, Washington with his family.

press bio

my fave books FOR KIDS

  1. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

  2. The Twits

  3. Harris and Me

  4. The Lightning Thief

  5. Joe the Barbarian

  6. The True Meaning of Smekday

  7. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

  8. Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading


a little about me...


I grew up in a place with a lot of forests and not very many houses, so my friends and I spent pretty much all day in the woods. We built forts, made slingshot shooting galleries and went dirt-sledding. (We also, um, did a lot of other stuff . . . but for legal purposes it’s best that I not mention any of that here.) Anyway, I thought the forest was the coolest place in the world, and that is where my imagination was born. There were never any adults out there, no parents or teachers to tell us what we could or couldn’t do. So the woods seemed like a place where anything could happen. I started to invent stories where wild, crazy, fantastic things were happening in the forest and only I knew about them. I usually never wrote them down, though; I just sort of made a game out of walking through the woods and thinking up fun stories.

Around this time, I had the following conversation with my uncle:

Uncle Mike: What do you want to do with your life?

Me: I want to write books.

Uncle Mike: What books have you written so far?

Me: I’m only 12  years old!

Uncle Mike: So what? Why not start now? Pretty soon you’ll be saying [here Uncle Mike used a whiny baby-voice]: But I’m only thirty years old!

It was maybe the best advice I ever received. Alas, I pretty much ignored it until I turned thirty years old and finally decided to get serious about my writing.

Between the ages of 12 and 30 I worked at several jobs, including a stint writing sports and features for the local daily newspaper. Mostly, though, I went to school and got my teaching certificate and taught at several high schools. I had a blast while teaching. I really liked hanging out with teenagers all day and talking about reading and writing. I also coached basketball and directed the school play and helped supervise student government. I truly enjoyed going to work every day and I still love to hear from former students.

When I turned thirty, though, I remembered my conversation with Uncle Mike. I figured that if I wanted to hold on to the dream of being an author of published books. . . I better actually, you know, write a book or something. So I gave myself a year and wrote a story about - you guessed it - a bunch of crazy stuff happening in the woods that only a 12-year-old boy knew about.

I’m a lot older than that kid who fell in love with the forest and with books, but the imagination has mostly remained. I still take a walk in the woods almost every day and think about stories. And it still seems like anything can happen out there.

why I love to write

the author thrills yet another young reader

the author shows an early interest in aliens

the young author learns to work with demanding editors

the author takes a break from writing to hike in the woods with admiring fans

writer • educator • speaker

inspiring kids of all ages to read, write, imagine and dream

www.cletebarrettsmith.com / info@cletebarrettsmith.com/ copyright Clete Barrett Smith 2011 /design by MPS