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Black Author Biographies

These picture book biographies are definitely NOT for little kids.  They are a perfect way for teachers to introduce students to the creators before they tackle the crafted words.

Feed Your Mind: A Story of August Wilson by Jen Bryant & Cannaday Chapman
August Wilson (1945–2005) was a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who had a particular talent for capturing the authentic, everyday voice of black Americans. As a child, he read off the soup cans and cereal boxes, and when his mother brought him to the library, his whole world opened up. After facing intense prejudice at school from both students and some teachers, August dropped out. However, he continued reading and educating himself independently. He felt that if he could read about it, then he could teach himself anything and accomplish anything. Like many of his plays, Feed Your Mind is told in two acts, revealing how Wilson grew up to be one of the most influential American playwrights.

Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou by Bethany Hegedus & Tonya Engel
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, this beautiful biography describes how she rose above a childhood of trauma and emotional pain to become one of the most inspiring voices of our lifetime.  Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarian -- Maya Angelou's life was marked by transformation and perseverance, from her early days in Stamps, Arkansas through her work as a freedom fighter to her triumphant rise as a poet of the people.  The foreward is penned by Angelou's grandson Colin A. Johnson.

A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks by Alice Faye Duncan & Xia Gordon
With a voice both wise and witty, Gwendolyn Brooks crafted poems that captured the urban Black experience and the role of women in society. She grew up on the South Side of Chicago, reading and writing constantly from a young age, her talent lovingly nurtured by her parents. Brooks ultimately published 20 books of poetry, two autobiographies, and one novel.  She was the first Black author to win the Pulitzer Prize.  Alice Faye Duncan has created her own song to celebrate Gwendolyn’s life and work, illuminating the tireless struggle of revision and the sweet reward of success.

Target Age: 
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Katiem