Over the last decade I’ve developed exciting, historically accurate plays for Scholastic’s Storyworks magazine. So inspiring were many of these topics that I couldn’t help but re-create them as children’s picture book manuscripts. These stories satisfy a growing trend of sharing African-American history through illustrated books. I also have numerous projects underway for adults and teens. Agents and publishing house representatives are invited to contact me about any they find interesting at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
My professional writing credits appear here, but a brief summary is as follows:
- With twenty years of current experience as an elementary school teacher, I am intimately familiar with children and the books that engage them.
- I’ve penned nearly twenty plays for Storyworks, Scholastic’s award-winning classroom literary magazine, which has a circulation of 350,000.
- I’ve crafted two collections of plays for children, Read-Aloud Plays: Symbols of America, and Read Aloud Plays: Classic Short Stories, both published by Scholastic, and my book on classroom writing instruction, Super Sentences and Perfect Paragraphs, was released in November 2009.
- I’ve also produced professional quality material for such publications as Instructor, Scholastic News, Four Wheeler, Scope, and Plays, and my short fiction, “S.C.”, was named “Best Story” of 1993 by the West Wind Review.
Summaries of selected Children’s Book Projects:
The events portrayed in my children’s picture book projects are not only significant in African-American culture, but now more than ever to American history in general. While visiting the book store at the King Memorial in Atlanta, however, I was surprised by the dearth of quality material. With professional representation, I believe we can introduce lively new titles to the market.
Standing Up by Sitting Down focuses on the 1960 Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-in. When the start of the Sit-in interferes with a family’s celebration, a young white boy gets angry about being denied his seat at the Woolworth’s. The incident eventually helps him to understand what it means to know respect, and when given the chance to stand up for civil liberties, he chooses to sit down with the protesters. “I’ll have what they’re having,” he says at the story’s climax, a powerful culturally-unifying moment.
The two white men stood laughing as the protester was being led away. I looked at the empty stool. And it was at that moment I understood what my Grandma had meant. The black students weren’t hungry for shortcake. They just wanted to be treated fairly. I stepped forward and climbed on to the stool.
“Finally, a payin’ customer!” said the waitress. “You want the usual, kiddo?”
“No, ma’am,” I stammered. “I’ll have what they’re havin’.”
The protester sitting next to me patted me on the back. “Now here’s a man for ya!”
“All we want,” I said, “is some strawberry shortcake and a place to sit down.”
Freedom for the First Time is based upon authentic slave narratives from the Civil War era and provides an accurate depiction of the moments leading up to Emancipation. When slavery steals away her baby girl, a mourning mother awaits her day of jubilee, the day “hallelujah‘s gonna break out.” Told from the perspective of her older daughter, ten-year-old Tyree, the story contrasts a mother’s determined hope against the confused notions of plantation slaves during the Civil War.
We’d lost kin before—especially on sellin’ off day—but losin’ Sarah hurt on Mama worse than usual. As the days passed by, I’d hear her out in the cotton, cryin’ all soft and low. And when the sun would go down and we’d be walkin’ back, I’d see her lookin’ in the direction of the Big House, trying to catch a glimpse of her baby.
In the Jailhouse with Dr. King is partially based on accounts from Martin Luther King’s memoirs. It tells the story of a troubled thirteen year old boy whose jailhouse encounter with King changes the way he “colors” himself. When King is jailed on a trivial speeding charge, the teen sees firsthand King’s sense of humor and compassion, yet he remains convinced that Black people should all “throw a few stones.” In the end, King’s peaceful words after his home is bombed resonate with the boy, who then resolves to “color himself glad.”
With the crowd growin’ bigger and gettin’ angrier, the Mayor and the police were all goin’ pale in the face. It looked to me like Dr. King’s non-violent resistance was on the verge of fallin’ apart. That’s when the Reverend himself stepped out on the porch.