- Name: Maya Payne Smart
- Titles: Writer, Book Enthusiast, Literacy Advocate
- Education: Master of Science in Journalism, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University; Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies, Harvard University
- Home Base: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Writing Specialties: How To, Book Reviews, Interviews, Features, Commentary
- Research Pursuits: Early Literacy; Reading Curriculum and Instruction; School, Family, and Community Engagement
- Super Powers: Deep Reading, Database Diving, Question Asking, Storytelling
I’m Maya Payne Smart, a lover of caffeine, books, and justice (not necessarily in that order). A wife, mom, and community advocate, I split my “me time” between deep reading and slow writing.
My focus? Promoting a #litrich lifestyle for families and individuals. I aim to show parents what it takes to raise fluent readers and to connect people of all ages to great books and authors. I also share productivity tips, interviews, and more, when inspiration strikes.
I love a good lifestyle blog and thought the space could use more substance and color.
When I launched this blog in 2013, I pledged not to bore you with souped-up photos of my daily outfits. To be honest, I’m better known for the books I’m toting than the bag I carry them in. I also pledged to steer clear of horribly executed but beautifully photographed DIY projects. (When it comes to home repairs, I’m a leader in the HAPpier movement. That is, hire a professional.)
All these years later, you can still expect an eclectic mix of lit-focused advice, book reviews, and social commentary inspired by daily life as lived by me. I’ve got big dreams and an active child, so tips that can work for the work-hard-sleep-short set are my sweet spot. I appreciate when a blogosphere tidbit supports my dreams for myself and my family, or saves me time or money, and I hope to pay it forward. Whatever the topic, I aim to inform, instruct, and inspire.
Writing for the heck of it is a dream.
For years, I wrote only for hire. Before Zora I was a business journalist who wrote hundreds of articles for publications ranging from local weeklies to national mega-sites. I also taught freelancers how to run profitable writing businesses in workshops for the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
These days I’m writing for love. I’m promoting the causes I support, interviewing people I admire, and writing my first book, a parents’ guide to early literacy for Avery/Penguin Random House. I’m so passionate about strong literacy and great reads because there’s no freedom, equality, or justice without them.
Reading’s my passion. Period.
Increasing families’ knowledge of reading fundamentals and their access to books, high-quality instruction, and community literary events is my way of expanding children’s possibilities and building a more equitable, connected society.
Writing about literacy, literature, and the joy and richness they bring to daily life is my pleasure. Thanks for checking me out!