Hamilton, Virginia 1936–2002
Hamilton, Virginia 1936–2002
(Virginia Esther Hamilton)
PERSONAL: Born March 12, 1936, in Yellow Springs, OH; died of breast cancer, February 19, 2002, in Dayton, OH; daughter of Kenneth James (a musician) and Etta Belle (Perry) Hamilton; married Arnold Adoff (an anthologist and poet), March 19, 1960; children: Leigh Hamilton, Jaime Levi. Education: Studied at Antioch College, 1952–55, Ohio State University, 1957–58, and New School for Social Research, 1958–60.
CAREER: Novelist and author of children's books.
AWARDS, HONORS: Notable Children's Book citation, American Library Association (ALA), 1967, and Nancy Block Memorial Award, Downtown Community School Awards Committee, New York, both for Zeely; Edgar Allan Poe Award for best juvenile mystery, Mystery Writers of America, 1969, for The House of Dies Drear; Ohioana Literary Award, 1969; John Newbery Honor Book Award, American Library Association (ALA), 1971, for The Planet of Junior Brown; Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, 1974, John Newbery Medal, ALA, and National Book Award, both 1975, and Gustav-Heinemann-Friedinspreis für Kinder und Lugendbucher, 1991, all for M.C. Higgins, the Great; John Newbery Honor Book Award, ALA, Coretta Scott King Award, ALA, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and American Book Award nomination, all 1983, all for Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush; Horn Book Fanfare Award in fiction, 1985, for A Little Love; Coretta Scott King Award, ALA, New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book citation, Children's Book Bulletin Other Award, and Horn Book Honor List selection, all 1986, all for The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales; Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, 1988, and Coretta Scott King Award, ALA, 1989, both for Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave; John Newbery Honor Book Award, ALA, 1989, for In the Beginning: Creation Stories from around the World; D.H.L., Bank Street College, 1990; Regina Medal for lifetime achievement, Catholic Library Association, 1990; U.S. nominee, Hans Christian Andersen Award, International Board on Books for Young People, 1992, for body of work; Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lifetime achievement, ALA, 1995; MacArthur Foundation grant, 1995; Coretta Scott King Award, ALA, 1996, for Her Stories; LL.D., Wright State University; honorary doctorate, Ohio State University, Kent State University, 1996; an annual grant for graduate students at Kent State University College of Education and School of Library Science was created in Hamilton's name, 2004.
FICTION FOR CHILDREN
Zeely, illustrated by Symeon Shimin, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1967.
The House of Dies Drear, illustrated by Eros Keith, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1968.
The Time-Ago Tales of Jahdu, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1969.
The Planet of Junior Brown, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1971.
Time-Ago Lost: More Tales of Jahdu, illustrated by Ray Prather, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1973.
M.C. Higgins, the Great, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1974, published with teacher's guide by Lou Stanek, Dell (New York, NY), 1986, published with short stories, poems, and memoirs by various writers, as M.C. Higgins, the Great: With Connections, Holt, Rinehart (Austin, TX), 1998.
Arilla Sun Down, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1976.
Illusion and Reality, Library of Congress (Washington, DC), 1976.
Justice and Her Brothers (first novel in "Justice" trilogy), Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1978.
Jahdu, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1980.
Dustland (second novel in "Justice" trilogy), Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1980.
The Gathering (third novel in "Justice" trilogy), Green-willow (New York, NY), 1981.
Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush, Philomel (New York, NY), 1982.
The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl, Harper (New York, NY), 1983.
Willie Bea and the Time the Martians Landed, Green-willow (New York, NY), 1983.
A Little Love, Philomel (New York, NY), 1984.
Junius over Far, Harper (New York, NY), 1985.
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, Knopf (New York, NY), 1985, published with cassette, 1987.
The Mystery of Drear House: The Conclusion of the Dies Drear Chronicle, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1987.
A White Romance, Philomel (New York, NY), 1987.
In the Beginning: Creation Stories from around the World, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1988.
Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave, Knopf (New York, NY), 1988.
Bells of Christmas, illustrated by Lambert Davis, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1989.
The Dark Way: Stories from the Spirit World, illustrated by Lambert Davis, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1990.
Cousins, Putnam (New York, NY), 1990.
The All-Jahdu Storybook, illustrated by Barry Moser, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1991.
Drylongso, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, Harcourt, Brace (San Diego, CA), 1992.
Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, Knopf (New York, NY), 1992.
Plain City, Blue Sky Press (New York, NY), 1993.
Her Stories: African-American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1995.
Jaguarundi, Blue Sky Press (New York, NY), 1995.
When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing: The Adventures of Bruh Sparrow, Sis Wren, and Their Friends, illustrated by Barry Moser, Blue Sky Press (New York, NY), 1995.
A Ring of Tricksters: Animal Tales from America, the West Indies, and Africa, Blue Sky Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Second Cousins, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.
Bluish: A Novel, Blue Sky Press (New York, NY), 1999.
The Girl Who Spun Gold, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, Blue Sky Press (New York, NY), 2000.
Wee Winnie Witch's Skinny: An Original Scare Tale for Halloween, illustrated by Barry Moser, Blue Sky Press (New York, NY), 2001.
Time Pieces: The Book of Times, Blue Sky Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl, illustrated by James Ransome, Blue Sky Press (New York, NY), 2003.
W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography (for children), Crowell (New York, NY), 1972.
Paul Robeson: The Life and Times of a Free Black Man (for children), Harper (New York, NY), 1974.
(Editor) W.E.B. Du Bois, The Writings of W.E.B. Du Bois, Crowell (New York, NY), 1975.
(Author of introduction) Martin Greenberg, editor, The Newbery Award Reader, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1984.
ADAPTATIONS: The House of Dies Drear was adapted for the Public Broadcasting Service series Wonderworks and released on videocassette, Public Media Video (Chicago, IL), 1984, and on audiocassette by Recorded Books (Frederick, MD), 1995. The People Could Fly was adapted for the Reading Rainbow television series. M.C. Higgins, the Great was released on audiodisc, Recorded Books (Frederick, MD), 1993. The Planet of Junior Brown was adapted as the film Junior's Groove, PIX Entertainment, 1999.
SIDELIGHTS: During a career that spanned more than three decades, Virginia Hamilton helped launch a new era in the portrayal of African Americans in children's literature, at the same time setting a new standard of quality in the genre. Not only have many of her works received awards such as the National Book Award, but her novel M.C. Higgins, the Great was the first work ever to win both the National Book Award and the Newbery Medal. Hamilton, winner of every major award in her field, including the 1995 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lifetime achievement, is widely recognized as a gifted and demanding storyteller. As Ethel L. Heins wrote in Horn Book: "Few writers of fiction for young people are as daring, inventive, and challenging to read—or to review—as Virginia Hamilton. Frankly making demands on her readers, she nevertheless expresses herself in a style essentially simple and concise." Her "rare ability to combine storytelling with scholarly research allowed her to rescue and retell important narratives that would otherwise have remained lost," Bonnie Verbug added in an article for Black Issues Book Review.
Hamilton's vision was deeply influenced by her background. Her mother's side of the family was descended from a fugitive slave, Levi Perry, who settled in the Miami valley town of Yellow Springs, in southern Ohio. The Perry family grew and prospered by farming the rich Ohio soil. "I grew up within the warmth of loving aunts and uncles, all reluctant farmers but great storytellers," Hamilton once recalled in a Horn Book article by Lee Bennett Hopkins. "I remember the tales best of all. My own father, who was an outlander from Illinois, Iowa, and points west, was the finest of the storytellers besides being an exceptional mandolinist. Mother, too, could take a slice of fiction floating around the family and polish it into a saga."
While attending Antioch College on a scholarship, Hamilton majored in writing and composed short stories. One of her instructors liked her stories enough to encourage the young student to leave college and test her skills in New York City. Hamilton was eager to experience the excitement of city life, and so in 1955 she began spending her summers in New York, working as a bookkeeper. Later, she moved to the city permanently. "I don't have a clear recollection of the day I officially left home to go to New York," she once told an interviewer. "My plan was to find a cheap apartment, a part-time job, write and have a good time. And it all came together."
An important influence on the creation of Zeely came after Hamilton married poet and anthologist Arnold Ad-off, whom she met not long after arriving in New York City. The two newlyweds traveled to Spain and then to northern Africa. "Going to Africa had been an enduring dream of Hamilton's," according to Dictionary of Literary Biography contributor Jane Ball, "and the land of dark-skinned people had 'a tremendous impression' on her … even though her stay was brief. The impact is apparent on her first book." According to John Rowe Townsend in his A Sounding of Storytellers: New and Revised Essays on Contemporary Writers for Children, Zeely exemplifies the type of writing Hamilton produced throughout her career: there "is not taint of rac-ism in her books…. All through her work runs an awareness of black history, and particularly of black history in America. And there is a difference in the furniture of her writing mind from that of most of her white contemporaries: dream, myth, legend and ancient story can be sensed again and again in the background of naturalistically-described present-day events."
Zeely is the story of a young girl who calls herself Geeder as a means of escaping who she really is, Elizabeth Perry. Geeder is fascinated by Zeely, a tall, regal-looking woman she sees tending pigs on a farm, obsessively imagining her to be a Watusi queen. By the end of the tale, Zeely convinces Geeder she is nothing of the sort. Horn Book Magazine reviewer Rudine Sims Bishop sums up Geeder's story nicely: "Zeely sees in Geeder something of herself as a young girl, and helps her, through a couple of stories, to separate her fantasies from reality but at the same time to hold on to her 'most fine way of dreaming.'"
In Hamilton's "Jahdu" tales, including The Time-Ago Tales of Jahdu, Time-Ago Lost: More Tales of Jahdu, Jahdu, and The All-Jahdu Storybook, Hamilton took an approach that mimics the style of the traditional folktale. These works tell of the fantastic adventures of Jahdu and his "encounters [with] the allegorical figures Sweetdream, Nightmare, Trouble, Chameleon, and others," wrote Marilyn F. Apseloff in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. "These original tales have a timeless quality about them; in addition, they reveal racial pride, as Jahdu discovers in [The Time-Ago Tales of Jahdu] … that he is happiest when he becomes a part of a black family in Harlem." Similarly, in the collections The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales, In the Beginning: Creation Stories from around the World, and The Dark Way: Stories from the Spirit World, Hamilton retells old myths and folktales from her own black ancestry—as well as many other cultures—in an attempt to restore pride in this diverse and rich literary heritage.
One ethnic group in particular, Native Americans, influenced Hamilton's writing in books like the Edgar Award-winning The House of Dies Drear. "The references to Indians in her books," observed Apseloff, "are probably the result of two factors: Hamilton knew that many Shawnees lived in the Yellow Springs area originally, with Cherokees further south, and her grandmother claimed to be part American Indian." Despite this element in the story, however, The House of Dies Drear is a mystery novel centered on the history of the Underground Railroad, the route fugitive blacks took to escape slavery in the South before the U.S. Civil War. It "is a taut mystery, one which youngsters gulp down quickly and find hard to forget," attested Hopkins. Hamilton called The House of Dies Drear one of her favorite books, "I think, because it is so full of all the things I love: excitement, mystery, black history, the strong, black family. In it I tried to pay back all those wonderful relatives who gave me so much in the past."
Hamilton's M.C. Higgins, the Great emphasizes the importance of family. The story portrays the Higginses, a close-knit family that resides on Sarah's Mountain in southern Ohio. The mountain has special significance to the Higginses, for it has belonged to their family since M.C.'s great-grandmother Sarah, an escaped slave, settled there. The conflict in the story arises when a huge spoil heap, created by strip mining, threatens to engulf the family home. M.C. is torn between his love for his home and his concern for his family's safety, and he searches diligently for a solution that will allow him to preserve both. M.C. Higgins, the Great was highly praised by critics, including poet Nikki Giovanni, who wrote in the New York Times Book Review: "Once again Virginia Hamilton creates a world and invites us in. M.C. Higgins, the Great is not an adorable book, not a lived-happily-ever-after kind of story. It is warm, humane and hopeful and does what every book should do—creates characters with whom we can identify and for whom we care."
Hamilton chronicles slavery in both Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave and Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom. In Anthony Burns she relates the true story of an escaped slave who was captured and tried under the Fugitive Slave Act. The trial triggered riots and ended with Burns's return to his former owner. Hamilton based her account on court records, newspaper reports, biographies, and other primary sources. "Told in an appropriately restrained, unadorned style, incorporating verbatim the speeches of counsel for both sides, Anthony Burns is a work of simple, but noble, eloquence," praised Elizabeth Ward in the Washington Post Book World. A reviewer for Children's Book Review Service also found the work compelling and remarked, "Black history comes alive in this striking, gripping, personalized account."
Based on information found in nineteenth-century archives and oral histories, Many Thousand Gone contains biographical profiles of celebrated and obscure individuals that reveal their personal experiences with slavery. The stories included provide insight on slavery in America from the early 1600s to its abolishment in 1865 with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. "All of these profiles drive home the sickening realities of slavery in a personal way," asserted David Haward Bain in the New York Times Book Review, the critic adding that "many also show how the experiences of individuals in the legal system worked in the larger struggle for freedom." Michael Dirda concluded in the Washington Post Book World that "as a kind of portrait gallery of the brave and resourceful, Many Thousand Gone deserves many thousand readers."
Throughout the 1990s Hamilton continued to pen works dealing with folklore and strong female characters. In the New York Times Book Review Veronica Chambers characterized Hamilton's Her Stories: African-American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales as "possibly the first collection of such folk literature to focus exclusively on African-American women and girls." Hamilton recasts stories dealing with animals, fairy tales, the supernatural, folkways, and true experiences that were passed down through oral history and in several African languages, as well as Spanish and English. "Hamilton's retellings of these stories strike a nice balance between dialect and accessibility, modernizing just enough to make the stories easily readable without sacrificing the flavor of the originals," credited Jennifer Howard in a Washington Post Book World review.
Another tale with a strong heroine is Hamilton's retelling of the European Rumplestiltskin tale as The Girl Who Spun Gold. School Library Journal's Carol Ann Wilson dubbed the 2000 book "charming and visually stunning" as well as "humorous and, at times, scary," while both Horn Book reviewer Robert Strang and Booklist critic Hazel Rochman remarked on how well the tale sounds. It is told in "immediate, colloquial style, with a rhythm just right for reading aloud," Rochman noted.
In addition to the folktales focusing on human characters, Hamilton also published animal-centered tales as Jaguarundi, When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing: The Adventures of Bruh Sparrow, Sis Wren, and Their Friends, and A Ring of Tricksters: Animal Tales from America, the West Indies, and Africa. She also penned several realistic novels set in contemporary times, among them Cousins, its sequel Second Cousins, and Bluish. Cousins tells the story of cousins Cammy and Patty Ann, who do not get along at day camp, while the sequel tells what happens when a family reunion brings two sophisticated New York cousins into the picture. Bluish follows the efforts of the new girl at a Manhattan magnet school, ten-year-old Dreenie, to make friends, which she does, with Natalie, who has leukemia. "Spare prose expresses each stage of the girls' friendship," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer of Bluish, and Dreenie comes to accept Natalie—nicknamed Bluish for her pale skin and prominent veins—illness and all. A Horn Book reviewer found Hamilton's portrayal of the fifth graders' speech and behavior "right on target." Among those portrayed is the emotionally needy Tuli, whose characterization in the capable hands of Hamilton was called "funny," "touching," and one of the highlights of the novel by Booklist's Rochman.
Hamilton's final novel, Time Pieces: The Book of Times, was completed shortly before the author succumbed to breast cancer. Published posthumously, it is semiauto-biographical and weaves together her childhood experiences and the family tales that made up part of her heritage. In it discerning readers can see many of the nuggets of family history around which Hamilton built her long works; as Booklist's Rochman predicted: "Her fans will also be fascinated to see the seeds of so many books here." The stories included in Time Pieces are set into the framework of a contemporary tale about a girl named Valena who likes to hear her family's stories. While a Publishers Weekly contributor called the contemporary-framed tale "sketchy" when contrasted with the richness of the family stories, in School Library Journal Lauralyn Persson praised the humor and suspense of the tales and the "simplicity and directness of the language," which qualities, she maintained, "serve the subject matter beautifully." In Kirkus Reviews a commentator concluded that Time Pieces "makes a loving, thoughtful addition" to Hamilton's "unique literary legacy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Children's Literature Review, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 1, 1976, Volume 8, 1985, Volume 11, 1986, Volume 40, 1996.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 26, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1983.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 33: Afro-American Fiction Writers after 1955, 1984, Volume 52: American Writers for Children since 1960: Fiction, 1986.
Egoff, Sheila A., Thursday's Child: Trends and Patterns in Contemporary Children's Literature, American Library Association (Chicago, IL), 1981, pp. 31-65, 130-158.
Hamilton, Virginia, interview with Marguerite Feitlowitz in Authors and Illustrators for Young Adults, Volume 2, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1989.
Mikkelsen, Nina, Virginia Hamilton, Twayne (New York, NY), 1994.
St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Sims, Rudine, Shadow and Substance: Afro-American Experience in Contemporary Children's Fiction, National Council of Teachers of English, 1982, pp. 79-102.
Townsend, John Rowe, A Sounding of Storytellers: New and Revised Essays on Contemporary Writers for Children, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1979, pp. 97-108.
Wheeler, Jill C., Virginia Hamilton, Abdo & Daughters (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.
African American Review, spring, 1998, Roberta Seelinger Trites, "'I Double Ever Never Lie to My Chil'ren': Inside People in Virginia Hamilton's Narratives," pp. 146-156.
Best Sellers, January, 1983.
Black Issues Book Review, November, 1999, reviews of Bluish and Bells of Christmas, p. 72; September, 2000, Khafre Abif, review of The Girl Who Spun Gold, p. 80; July, 2001, review of The Girl Who Spun Gold, p. 74.
Book, January, 2001, Kathleen Odean, review of The Girl Who Spun Gold, p. 83.
Booklist, August, 1982, p. 1525; April 1, 1983, pp. 1034-1035; July, 1985, p. 1554; February 15, 1994, Ilene Cooper, review of The Bells of Christmas, p. 1095; April 1, 1994, p. 1464; December 15, 1994, p. 753; November 1, 1995, Hazel Rochman, review of Her Stories, p. 470; January 1, 1998, Julie Corsaro, review of A Ring of Tricksters, p. 802; September 15, 1999, Hazel Rochman, review of Bluish, p. 257; August, 2000, Hazel Roch-man, review of The Girl Who Spun Gold, p. 2134; February 15, 2001, review of The Girl Who Spun Gold, p. 1152, and review of Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush, p. 1149; July, 2001, review of The Girl Who Spun Gold, p. 2011; December 15, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Time Pieces: The Book of Times, p. 761.
Book Report, March, 1999, review of Second Cousins, p. 57; November, 1999, review of Bluish, p. 61.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 1978, p. 9; March, 1981, p. 134; July-August, 1982, p. 207; November, 1983, pp. 50-51; April, 1985, p. 148; June, 1988; November, 1998, Janice M. Del Negro, review of Second Cousins, pp. 97-98; October, 1999, Janice M. Del Negro, review of Bluish, p. 54; December 15, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Time Pieces: The Book of Times, p. 761
Catholic Library World, September, 1999, review of A Ring of Tricksters, p. 33.
Childhood Education, summer, 2003, Jeanie Burnett, review of Time Pieces, p. 245.
Children's Book Review Service, April, 1985, p. 97; July, 1988, review of Anthony Burns, p. 146; October, 1992, p. 22; March, 1995, p. 90; October, 1995, p. 22; March, 1996, p. 91; October, 1999, review of Bluish, p. 189.
Children's Bookwatch, December, 1999, review of Bluish, p. 4.
Children's Literature Association Quarterly, fall, 1982, pp. 45-48; winter, 1983, pp. 10-14, 25-27; spring, 1983, pp. 17-20; fall, 1986, pp. 134-142; winter, 1995–96, pp. 168-174.
Children's Literature in Education, winter, 1983; summer, 1987, pp. 67-75.
Christian Science Monitor, May 4, 1972, p. B5; March 12, 1979, p. B4; May 12, 1980, p. B9; March 2, 1984, p. B7; August 3, 1984.
Detroit Free Press, January 27, 2002, review of Many Thousand Gone, p. 5E.
Horn Book, October, 1968, p. 563; February, 1970; February, 1972; October, 1972, p. 476; December, 1972, Lee Bennett Hopkins, "Virginia Hamilton," pp. 563-569; June, 1973; October, 1974, pp. 143-144; April, 1975; August, 1975, pp. 344-348; December, 1976, p. 611; December, 1978, pp. 609-619; June, 1980, p. 305; October, 1982, pp. 505-506; March-April, 1983 p. 175; February, 1984, pp. 24-28; September-October, 1984, pp. 597-598; September-October, 1985, pp. 563-564; March-April, 1986, pp. 212-213; January-February, 1988, pp. 105-106; March-April, 1989, pp. 183-185; July-August, 1993, p. 437; September-October, 1993, p. 621; March-April, 1994, p. 204; July-August, 1995, pp. 436-445; September-October, 1996, Nancy Vasilakis, review of When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing, p. 604; January-February, 1998, p. 83; January-February, 1999, p. 61; September-October, 2000, Robert Strang, review of The Girl Who Spun Gold, p. 586.
Instructor, January, 2001, Judy Freeman, "All You Need Is Love," p. 19; May, 2001, review of The Girl Who Spun Gold, p. 37.
Interracial Books for Children Bulletin, numbers 1 and 2, 1983, p. 32; number 5, 1984; Volume 15, number 5, 1984, pp. 17-18; Volume 16, number 4, 1985, p. 19.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 1974; October 15, 1980, pp. 1354-1355; April 1, 1983; October 1, 1985, pp. 1088-1089; March 1, 1996, p. 375; October 15, 1999, review of Bluish, p. 1643; November 1, 2002, review of Time Pieces, p. 1612.
Kliatt, July, 1999, review of Plain City, p. 4.
Language Arts, March, 2002, review of The Girl Who Spun Gold, p. 355.
Lion and the Unicorn, Volume 9, 1985, pp. 50-57; Volume 10, 1986, pp. 15-17.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, March 23, 1986; May 22, 1988, p. 11; December 17, 1989, p. 8; November 18, 1990, p. 8.
New York Times Book Review, October 13, 1968, p. 26; October 24, 1971, p. 8; September 22, 1974, p. 8; December 22, 1974, Nikki Giovanni, review of M.C. Higgins, the Great, p. 8; October 31, 1976, p. 39; December 17, 1978, p. 27; May 4, 1980, pp. 26, 28; September 27, 1981, p. 36; November 14, 1982, pp. 41, 56; September 4, 1983, p. 14; March 18, 1984, p. 31; April 17, 1985, p. 20; November 10, 1985, p. 38; November 8, 1987, p. 36; October 16, 1988, p. 46; November 13, 1988, p. 52; December 17, 1989, p. 29; November 11, 1990, p. 6; November 22, 1992, p. 34; February 21, 1993, David Haward Bain, review of Many Thousand Gone, p. 23; November 12, 1995, Veronica Chambers, review of Her Stories, p. 23; September 22, 1996, review of When the Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing, p. 28; April 19, 1998, review of A Ring of Tricksters, p. 32; February 11, 2001, Linda Villarosa, review of The Girl Who Spun Gold, p. 27.
Publishers Weekly, January 4, 1993, review of Cousins, p. 74; January 18, 1993, p. 470; February 6, 1995, review of Plain City, p. 86; February 19, 1996, p. 214; October 6, 1997, p. 59; April 20, 1998, p. 69; October 25, 1999, review of Bluish, p. 81; November 4, 2002, review of Time Pieces, p. 85.
Reading Teacher, February, 1999, review of A Ring of Tricksters, p. 498; May, 2001, review of The Girl Who Spun Gold, p. 832.
School Library Journal, December, 1968, pp. 53-54; September, 1971, p. 126; December, 1978, p. 60; March, 1980, p. 140; April, 1981, p. 140; April, 1983, p. 123; August, 1985, p. 97; December, 1994, Karen K. Radtke, review of Jaguarundi, p. 75; January, 1995, p. 70; February, 1996, pp. 70-71; December, 1996, p. 29; November, 1999, Katie O'Dell, review of Bluish, p. 158; September, 2000, Carol Ann Wilson, review of The Girl Who Spun Gold, p. 217; December, 2002, Lauralyn Persson, review of Time Pieces, p. 140.
Times (London, England), November 20, 1986.
Times Literary Supplement, May 23, 1975; July 11, 1975, p. 766; March 25, 1977, p. 359; September 19, 1980, p. 1024; November 20, 1981, p. 1362; August 30, 1985, p. 958; February 28, 1986, p. 230; October 30, 1987, p. 1205; November 20, 1987, p. 1286; July 29, 1988, p. 841.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), November 10, 1985, pp. 33-34; October 16, 1988, p. 9; November 13, 1988, p. 6; February 26, 1989, p. 8; November 11, 1990; February 14, 1993.
Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1980, pp. 31-32; October, 1983, p. 215; June, 1985, p. 130; October, 1988, p. 201; February, 1994, Alice F. Stern, review of Plain City, p. 267; August, 1997, p. 173; February, 1999, Joyce Sparrow, review of Second Cousins, p. 434.
Washington Post Book World, June 25, 1967, p. 12; November 10, 1974; November 7, 1976, p. G7; November 11, 1979; September 14, 1980, p. 6; November 7, 1982, p. 14; November 10, 1985; July 10, 1988, p. 11; April 8, 1990, p. 8; November 4, 1990, p. 19; December 9, 1990, p. 14; February 14, 1993, Michael Dirda, review of Many Thousand Gone, p. 10; December 5, 1993, Elizabeth Ward, review of In the Beginning, pp. 21, 26; December 10, 1995, Jennifer Howard, review of Her Stories, p. 17.
Black Issues Book Review, March-April, 2003, pp. 71-73.
Horn Book, May-June, 2002, pp. 366-367.
New York Times, February 20, 2002, p. 19.