Turner, Glennette Tilley 1933-

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Turner, Glennette Tilley 1933-


Born November 23, 1933, in Raleigh, NC; daughter of John Lee (a theologian, college president, and civil rights leader) and Phyllis Geraldine (a nursery school teacher and parent educator) Tilley; married Albert W. Turner (a postal administrator), April 1, 1956; children: Albert, Cyril. Education: Lake Forest College, B.A., 1955; Goddard College, M.A., 1979. Politics: "Independent." Religion: Unitarian-Universalist.


Home—P.O. Box, 461, Glen Ellyn, IL 60138. Agent—Marie Brown, 412 W. 154th St., New York, NY 10032. E-mail—[email protected].


Educator and author. Charles A. Stevens & Co., Chicago, IL, advertising copywriter, 1955-56; primary teacher at public schools in Chicago and suburbs, 1962-88; Ginn & Co., Boston, MA, staff writer, 1969-70; National Louis University, Evanston, IL, teacher of minority education classes and student teacher supervisor, beginning 1988. Member of Northern Illinois University Children's Literature Conference; member of board of directors, Graue Mill, DuPage Historical Society; member of Wheaton Media Commission. Former advisor to Illinois Commission on Fiftieth Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education; consultant to Naper Settlement, Graue Mill, Wheaton History Center and CCURE. Participant in Near South planning board and Open Book authors-in-the-schools literacy programs. Conducts Underground Railroad tours for Newberry Library.


American Society of Journalists and Authors, Authors Guild, Midland Authors, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago, Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, Patricia Liddell Researchers, Phi Beta Kappa.

Awards, Honors

Named Outstanding Woman Educator, West Suburban YWCA, 1984; Studs Terkel Humanities Award; Margaret Landon Award; Alice Browingn Award, International Black Writers Conference; named Illinois Humanities Council roads scholar; Irma Kinsley Johnson Award, Friends of Amistad; inducted into International Literacy Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent, Chicago State University Gwendolyn Brooks Center; named 2006 Citizen of the Year, Wheaton Kiwanis Club.


Surprise for Mrs. Burns, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1971.

The Underground Railroad in Du Page County, Illinois, Newman Educational Publishers (Glen Ellyn, IL), 1980, revised, 1986.

Take a Walk in Their Shoes (for children), Dutton (New York, NY), 1989.

Lewis Howard Latimer, Silver Burdett, 1990.

Running for Our Lives, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1994.

Follow in Their Footsteps, Cobblehill Books (New York, NY), 1997.

The Underground Railroad in Illinois, Newman Educational Publishers (Glen Ellyn, IL), 2001.

An Apple for Harriet Tubman (with DVD), illustrated by Susan Keeter, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2006.

Work represented in anthologies and textbooks. Author of features "Tips for Parents," in Black Child Journal, and "Take a Walk in Their Shoes," in Ebony, Jr.


Glennette Tilley Turner is an educator, author, and historian who has focused much of her writing on the history of African Americans living in her native Midwest. In addition to nonfiction titles such as The Underground Railroad in Illinois, Turner has also written several stories that bring history alive for younger readers. Referencing Running for Our Lives, an historical novel set in 1850s Missouri that follows a boy as he escapes slavery with his family, Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman praised Turner for being "meticulous in researching the conditions of the dangerous journey." As Turner once commented, "research and writing have given me a greater appreciation of how interconnected all aspects of life and learning are. I hope I can convey to children their sense of relatedness and wonder."

Focusing on a younger audience, Turner's picture book An Apple for Harriet Tubman is based on a tale related by Tubman's great-niece. The story focuses on the life of a well-known conductor on the Underground Railroad, and follows Tubman's life from a young slave to her life as a free adult and property owner in upstate New York. As a slave, Tubman's favorite job had been picking apples from the plantation's orchard, although

if she ate any she was punished; as an adult she planted her own orchard and allowed her neighbors to freely harvest her fruit for many years. "The simplicity of Turner's telling does not take away from the power of the underlying issues of slavery, danger and … freedom," noted a Kirkus Reviews writer, the critic praising the "richly colored" illustrations by Susan Keeter that accompany the text. Calling An Apple for Harriet Tubman an "excellent introduction to a complex topic," School Library Journal reviewer Mary Hazelton added that Turner's story helps children develop "a personal connection with a girl whose life was very different from their own."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, June 1, 1994, Hazel Rochman, review of Running for Our Lives, p. 1823; February 15, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Underground Railroad in Illinois, p. 1150.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July, 1991, review of Lewis Howard Latimer, p. 278; June, 1994, review of Running for Our Lives, p. 337.

Publishers Weekly, December 14, 1992, review of Take a Walk in Their Shoes, p. 58; March 21, 1994, review of Running for Our Lives, p. 73.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2006, review of An Apple for Harriet Tubman, p. 913.

School Library Journal, November, 1989, Sylvia V. Meisner, review of Take a Walk in Their Shoes, p. 124; October, 2006, Mary Hazelton, review of An Apple for Harriet Tubman, p. 143.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1990, review of Take a Walk in Their Shoes, p. 367; October, 1991, review of Lewis Howard Latimer, p. 218.


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators—Illinois Chapter Web site,http://www.scbwi-illinois.org/ (October 27, 2007), "Glennette Tilley Turner."

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