Flood, Pansie Hart 1964-
FLOOD, Pansie Hart 1964-
PERSONAL: Born May 20, 1964, in Wilmington, NC; daughter of Sammie (a carpenter) and Zelene (a teacher; maiden name, Wallace) Hart; married Merrill Patrick Flood; children: two. Ethnicity: "African American." Education: East Carolina University, B.A. (school and community health education), 1986. Religion: Baptist.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—P.O. Box 20614, Greenville, NC 27858. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Bertie County Schools, Windsor, NC, school health educator, 1986-87; Wake County Schools, Raleigh, NC, middle school and high school teacher, 1987-88; Pitt County Schools, Greenville, NC, middle school teacher, 1988—.
AWARDS, HONORS: East Carolina University African-American Firsts award, 2002; Honor Book, Society of School Librarians International, 2003, for Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye.
Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye, illustrated by Felicia Marshall, Carolrhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.
Secret Holes, illustrated by Felicia Marshall, Carol-rhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.
WORK IN PROGRESS: September Smiles, Carolrhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2004; Tiger Turcotte and the Trouble with Tests, Carolrhoda, 2004; Tiger Turcotte and the Argument with D.O., Carolrhoda, 2005; and Tiger Turcotte Isn't Wet with Sweat, Carolrhoda, 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Middle-school teacher Pansie Hart Flood grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina, where as the youngest of seven children, she was immersed in the activities of family life. For her, one of these activities was writing, as she recalled to CA: "As an elementary school kid, writing for fun was something that I acquired naturally. Writing about whatever was going on in my day-to-day life (journal writing) became a habit. For as long as I can remember, I've always enjoyed expressing myself in the written form." Thus, it is not surprising that she should draw upon her home life for subject matter. As she explained to CA, "The existence of my 108-year-old grandmother inspired me to write my first novel, Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye." "When my grandmother turned one hundred years old, I was just totally fascinated with that idea, because I had never met anyone who turned one hundred," she elaborated on the Public Radio East Web site. "Then my grandmother turned 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, and 108. She just kept on living and living, and it just became even more fascinating. Every year we had a birthday party for my grandmother, and everybody just couldn't believe the condition she was in . . . her spicy and vivacious character, her personality."
Set in South Carolina in the late 1970s, Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye revolves around Sylvia, a "spirited, sassy girl, with a strong, engaging voice," to quote School Library Journal's Barbara Auerbach. Part of this authentic voice is due to Sylvia's realistic speech, which even incorporates such grammatical flaws as "she's gots lots of cousins" and "where your peoples from." Sylvia and her single mother have recently moved from Florida, and the ten-year-old girl tells how she befriends Miz Lula Maye, the nearly one-hundred-year-old woman who lives next door. Much to the surprise of the girl's mother, the friendship proves mutually rewarding for the two, for though separated by ninety years in age, they have much in common. According to Booklist's Ilene Cooper, Flood writes with an "authentic voice that captures" the 1978 setting and the friendship between the elderly and young characters, while in Kirkus Reviews a commentator noted that overall, the girl's narrative is "delightful."
Flood continued to hone her skills, writing such novels as Secret Holes, September Smiles, and the "Tiger Turcotte" chapter-book series for emerging readers. As before, Flood looked to her own family for ideas. She told CA, "My own children inspired me to write stories that evolved into the 'Tiger Turcotte' book series of chapter books. Because of my family, I have lots of stories to write.
"I hope that more kids will become encouraged to read books about African Americans and multi-cultures. Diversity in literature is very important on all levels, as well as, ages."
To would-be writers she offered this advice, "I encourage aspiring writers to take a close look at what they know best (family, community, religion, career, hobby, culture, etc.). Stories live all around you and are anxiously waiting to be told. Be patient, persistent, and have perseverance!"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2002, Ilene Cooper, review of Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye, p. 1032.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2002, review of Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye, p. 255.
Publishers Weekly, January 28, 2002, review of Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye, p. 291.
School Library Journal, April, 2002, Barbara Auerbach, review of Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye, p. 148.
Pansie Flood Web site,http://www.pansieflood.com (April 3, 2003).
Public Radio East Web site, http://www.publicradioeast.org/lifestyle/ (January 15, 2003), review of Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye.