Rio Cortez

Rio Cortez is a New York Times best-selling author of both adult and children’s literature. She is a graduate of the MFA program at New York University, and a Pushcart-nominated poet who has received fellowships from Poet's House, Cave Canem, and Canto Mundo Foundations. Rio has been the recipient of the Sarah Lawrence College Lucy Grealy Prize in Poetry, a Poets & Writers Amy Award, and a Jerome Foundation grant. Descended from a Black Utah pioneering family, the Howells, Rio was born and raised in Salt Lake City. She now lives, writes, and works in Harlem.



The ABCs of Black History (Workman, 2020) — Picture Book
Golden Ax (Penguin, 2022) — Poetry
The River Is My Sea (S&S, 2023) — Picture Book


"2 Picture Books Celebrate the Poetry and Promise of Black Lives," The New York Times Book Review

In Their Own Words: Poetry Society of America, "Rio Cortez on 'UFO, For Instance'"

"How Black Parents Survived 2020," The New York Times