3/12/1936 - 2/19/2002
Virginia Hamilton is credited with introducing ordinary yet memorable black characters to children’s literature, becoming one of the nation’s most honored writers of contemporary children’s books. Her works including Zeely; M. C. Higgins, The Great; and The People Could Fly are poetic in their use of language and complex in the way they deal with important issues like love, death, courage, fear and self-discovery. She authored more than 35 books, including 22 novels, three biographies, several collections of folk tales and two picture books. She received the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, the National Book Award, the John Newberry Medal and the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the most prestigious international prize in children’s literature. In 1995 she was chosen to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, often called a “genius grant.” Her books have been translated into dozens of languages and have sold millions of copies around the world.