Stacey Heather Lee is an American author of young adult fiction, best known for Under a Painted Sky and Outrun the Moon. Her works tend to be contemporary and historical fiction, with some magical elements.
Lee is a fourth-generation Chinese-American. Her family on her mother's side originally came to America in the 1800s, but wasn't permitted to stay due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. Her father immigrated to San Francisco in 1953. She grew up in southern California and has two sisters. Lee wrote her first novel when she was nine and says that she always wanted to become a writer. Lee graduated from UCLA and has a law degree from UC Davis School of Law. She practiced law in Silicon Valley for a few years prior to becoming an author.
Lee is also the legal director of the non-profit organization We Need Diverse Books and is one of the founders of the movement.
Lee is married and has two children, a daughter and a son.
Her debut novel, Under a Painted Sky, about a Chinese-American girl and an African-American girl who travel the Oregon Trail during the gold rush was published in 2016. She was inspired to write Under the Painted Sky based on her complex family history in the 1800s and chose a Chinese-American protagonist who doesn't speak Chinese like her. Aside from similarities in the main character's upbringing and her own, she chose not to incorporate details of her family history into the novel.
Outrun the Moon, her second novel, set during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, about a Chinese-American teen struggling to escape her family's circle of poverty, was published the same year. She drew on her family history again for the novel and did field research traveling to various locations in the novel, among them Chinatown and the Golden Gate Park.