“Tison’s writing is staggering… Structurally and substantively, this book is an elegiac triumph that puts the human heart in the reader’s hands.” ― The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

Ari Tison (Bribri) is the award-winning poet and the author of YA hybrid poetry & prose novel Saints of the Household (2023) and the forthcoming YA novel Together We See (2025) with FSG/Macmillan.

Saints of the Household was the winner of the 2024 Walter Dean Myers Award, the winner of the 2024 Pura Belpré Award, the winner of the 2024 Walden Award, the winner of the 2024 Américas Award, and a finalist for the William C. Morris Award. Saints of the Household was chosen as a Best Book of the Month by Amazon, and Best Book of 2023 by Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, New York Public Library, BCCB, Bank Street, and Chicago Public Library along with receiving starred trade reviews from Kirkus, BCCB, and SLJ. Ari was chosen as a 2023 Publishers Weekly Flying Start.

Ari’s work has been widely anthologized and has been included in Our Shadows Have Claws with Algonquin Young Readers (2022), ReLit Anthology with HarperCollins (2024), and Sing Me A Story: Short Stories in Verse with Penguin (2024). Her poems and short works have been published in a number of national magazines including POETRY’s first ever edition for children. She has her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC) from Hamline and now serves on the MFAC faculty. She specializes in Native and non-western storytelling structures and craft.

Ari belongs to the Bribri tribe, one of the eight federally and globally recognized tribes of contemporary Costa Rica. She lives in the Twin Cities, Minnesota.

Ari's Featured Titles

Saints of the Household

Farrar, Straus and Giroux |
Young Adult

Winner of the Pura Belpré Award and Walter Dean Myers Award for Young Adult Literature!

Saints of the Household is a haunting contemporary YA about an act of violence in a small-town–beautifully told by a debut Indigenous Costa Rican-American writer–that will take your breath away.

Max and Jay have always depended on one another for their survival. Growing up with a physically abusive father, the two Bribri American brothers have learned that the only way to protect themselves and their mother is to stick to a schedule and keep their heads down.

But when they hear a classmate in trouble in the woods, instinct takes over and they intervene, breaking up a fight and beating their high school’s star soccer player to a pulp. This act of violence threatens the brothers’ dreams for the future and their beliefs about who they are. As the true details of that fateful afternoon unfold over the course of the novel, Max and Jay grapple with the weight of their actions, their shifting relationship as brothers, and the realization that they may be more like their father than they thought. They’ll have to reach back to their Bribri roots to find their way forward.

Told in alternating points of view using vignettes and poems, debut author Ari Tison crafts an emotional, slow-burning drama about brotherhood, abuse, recovery, and doing the right thing.


"The Storyteller Gets Her Name"

Named after her widely-taught poem, Ari gives a talk where shares her journey of becoming a storyteller, as she shares her peoples’ stories, language, history, contemporary life, and environmentalism alongside her own work with her audience as a way to welcome listens to the way in which we are all storytellers—be it in the sciences, the arts, mathematics, history, and so on. Ari believes storytelling is both ancient an active part of the narrative of being human and that storytelling, as the Bribri word teaches, is more than story but that which encompasses human history, knowledge, and the wind itself.


One of Us: A Poetry Workshop

An interactive poetry workshop where students are all invited to be poets and learn techniques and build a poem including sound, structure, theme, and rhythm. Students leave with at least two poems and techniques to return to in future writing.


Folklore & Your Own Story...Not So Different After All

An exploration of how folklore, community tall tales, and personal stories can influence and create ideas for story. Students look at examples from pop-culture and Ari’s book Saints of the Household to produce prompts for students to create from. Students create at least one new plot to explore and will be writing at least one poem.


What Does it All Mean?: A Workshop on Creating Meaning

How do we create art that will last, that talks deep, that connects with humanity? How do we access our personal themes? What do our own obsessions have to do with it? Ari Tison will lead a workshop on aboutness and theme in our stories and poetry to learn how to find and create meaning and, even more so, tap into the meaning that already exists within us.


But There are New Suns: A Master Class on Innovation in Six Steps

Ari teaches a master class on innovation that teaches six steps of creating an innovative concept for books. She shares her own process behind creating Saints of the Household and other works. She also shares her own research from editors, agents, readers, and book reviewers in the field and their perspective on the topic.

Ari’s Press Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Winner of the 2024 Walter Dean Myers Award
Winner of the 2024 Pura Belpré Award
Winner of the 2024 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award
Winner of the 2024 Américas for Children’s and Young Adult Literature
A William C. Morris Debut Award Finalist
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
Top Ten NYPL Best Books for Young People
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Year
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
An Amazon Best Book of the Year So Far
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
A TLA Tayshas Reading List Selection
A Notable Book for a Global Society Selection
A Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Title
A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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