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Charles R. Smith, Jr.

“This was my first book and it came about by accident,” says Charles R. Smith, Jr. regarding his first book for children, Rimshots: Basketball Pix, Rolls and Rhythms (Dutton, 1999).   In the years that have followed this work of happenstance, Smith has written, or photo-illustrated (or both!) more than 20 titles for young readers, including: Hoop [ Read the full article… ]

Denene Millner & Mitzi Miller

After a crisis of the computer, I’m proud to present (albeit a bit late) two authors who came onto the YA scene with a series that epitomizes a slice of African American life that’s yet to be showcased on a consistent basis. Denene Millner & Mitzi Miller hit the scene with the Hotlanta series in [ Read the full article… ]

Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard

As a child, Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard loved to read. That her books showed a white world didn’t matter to her back then. She identified with treasured characters and didn’t question the lack of diversity. But when Howard grew up, and multicultural children’s books began to bloom, she realized she missed something important — reflections of her people and herself.  Howard set out to change [ Read the full article… ]

Martin Mordecai

The gorgeous novel BLUE MOUNTAIN TROUBLE from Martin Mordecai debuted to rave reviews last year. Kirkus gave it a starred review, Booklist called it “rich in characterization with a beautifully realized setting”. Publishers Weekly noted that “the author captures the rhythm of the children’s daily life and effectively conveys their hopes, fears and family love [ Read the full article… ]

Nikki Grimes

I love drawing the long straw and getting to profile a trailblazer during 28 Days Later. And somehow, Varian let me get away with profiling both of the YA vanguards. Shh…he may not realize. But these are the authors who have been in the industry long enough to truly say where publishing has been and [ Read the full article… ]

Cozbi A. Cabrera

Cozbi A. Cabrera walked away from a successful career as an art director at Sony Music to “discover, create and share pockets of grace and beauty.” Her creations have taken on many forms. She is the illustrator of several books for children, including Most Loved in All the World (Houghton Mifflin), Thanks A Million (Greenwillow [ Read the full article… ]

Jaime Adoff

Considering the “source material”–parents Arnold Adoff and Virginia Hamilton–many readers and educators had high expectation when Jaime Adoff hit the literary scene with his first work, The Song Shoots Out of My Mouth: A Celebration of Music (Dutton, 2002). Adoff did not disappoint–the collection of poetry was praised by critics and named a Lee Bennett [ Read the full article… ]

Jerdine Nolen

  “Stories help us examine and shape the world we live in. Stories give us hopeful answers and insights to questions no one person can answer on their own — stories help us share our lives. This is what I love about being a writer.” So says Jerdine Nolen–wife, mother of two, educator, school administrator, and [ Read the full article… ]