African-American Fiction Writers For

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 ReadingBoyart.gif (50269 bytes)Identifying books written by African-American writers for older children can be challenging.

Yet African-American children want to read about other African-American lives in fun, well-written, and meaningful books. The authors listed below all are currently writing for children age 8-15. This is a beginning point, not a comprehensive list. Ask your librarian for more suggestions.

Candy Dawson Boyd writes about family life for children grades 3-6.

Christopher Paul Curtis’ first book, Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963, was a Coretta Scott King Honor book. Curtis made literary history when Bud, Not Buddy won both the CSK and Newbery Awards. His books are funny, yet wise.

Sharon Draper writes searing young adult stories about life’s bitter realities. Her Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs series is lighter, for slightly younger children.

Karen English began by writing picture books. Her short novels are just as satisfying for slightly older children.

Many teens will recognize themselves in the honest fiction of Sharon G. Flake, who has been recognized by the Coretta Scott King Task Force as a "New Talent."

Virginia Hamilton, known for biographies and re-tellings of African- American folklore, blends fantasy and history in her juvenile fiction. She was awarded the 1992 Hans Christian Anderson Award for her life-long contributions to children’s literature.

Whether writing about the past or the present, Joyce Hansen’s stories for children and teens ring true. She has contributed to the Dear America series.

Angela Johnson’s likeable characters confront their problems in realistic ways. She writes juvenile and young adult fiction as well as picture books.

Julius Lester re-introduced today’s children to Uncle Remus. Check out his novels (both juvenile and young adult fiction) set in modern times.

St. Louis’ own Patricia C. McKissack started writing biographies of African Americans to provide role models for black children. She has used her storytelling talent to write over 100 books – history, picture books, and juvenile fiction.

Jess Mowry writes honest young adult novels about tough issues – drugs, gangs, and race.

Walter Dean Myers is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and a Newbery Medalist. In 2000 he was the first winner of the Printz Award (a new young adult award) for his book, Monster. He writes sports stories and contributes to the My Name is America series. Boys like Myers because Myers understands boys. Find Myers in both the juvenile and young adult sections of the library.

Andrea Pinkney, editor and picture book author, is now writing short juvenile stories for children just beginning to read chapter books.

Harriet Gillem Robinet makes the history of race relations come alive in juvenile stories for 3rd-5th graders.

In Eleanora Tate’s juvenile books for 3rd-7th graders, strong characters overcome difficulties and draw strength from family heritage.

Mildred Taylor drew on her family history to write Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Her short novels for middle school children show the Logan family’s courage when facing racism.

Mildred Pitts Walter’s simple stories about likeable kids with realistic, but not overwhelming, problems help kids move from reading picture books to juvenile fiction.

Rita Williams-Garcia’s teen characters face moral dilemmas and peer pressure in poignant and provocative young adult novels.

Jacqueline Woodson’s sensitively written young adult novels are for teens ready to address issues of sexuality, abuse, identity, poverty, and injustice.

Books For             
Children & Teens