Sharon Draper

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Draper at BookExpo America in 2018

Sharon Mills Draper (born August 21, 1948)[1][2] is an American children's writer and a professional educator, the 1997 National Teacher of the Year. She is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for books about the African-American experience. She may be known best for the Hazelwood and Jericho series and for her historical novel Copper Sun. Other books include Double Dutch, Out of My Mind and Romiette and Julio, and Stella by Starlight. Draper won the Margaret A. Edwards Award from American Library Association in 2015. The annual award recognizes one writer and a particular body of work for "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature". The judges cited six novels that were published from 1994 to 2007: Tears of a Tiger, Forged by Fire, and Darkness Before Dawn (the Hazelwood trilogy); The Battle of Jericho, November Blues, and Copper Sun.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Draper was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She is graduate of Pepperdine University. She is an active participant in the activities of the YMCA of Cincinnati, a member of the National Council of Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, and Top Ladies of Distinction. Mrs. Draper travels extensively and has been a guest on television and radio programs throughout the country, discussing issues surrounding literature, reading, and education. She is an accomplished public speaker who addresses educational and literary groups of all ages, both nationally and internationally, with entertaining readings of her poetry and novels. She lives with her husband in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her daughter has Cerebral Palsy, a disability which the main character in Out of My Mind also lives with. She only has one son, named Max, that is a freshman that attends a central Ohio school. [4]

Awards and honors[edit]

She is a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award winner, and was the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence for the Taft Museum. She is a YWCA Career Woman of Achievement, and is the recipient of the Dean's Award from Howard University School of Education, the Pepperdine University Distinguished Alumnus Award, the Marva Collins Education Excellence Award, and the Governor's Educational Leadership Award. Last year she was named Ohio Pioneer in Education by the Ohio State Department of Education, received the Beacon of Light Humanitarian award, as well as the Doctor of Laws Degree from Pepperdine University. In 2011, she received the 33rd annual Jeremiah Ludington Memorial Award by the Educational and Media Association.[5]

She has been honored at the White House six times, and was chosen as one of only four authors in the country to speak at the National Book Festival Gala in Washington, D.C, and to represent the United States in Madrid at their Book Festival. Her book Copper Sun has been selected by the US State Department and the International Reading Association as the United States novel for the international reading project called Reading Across Continents. Students in the US, Nigeria, and Ghana are reading the book and sharing ideas.

Tears of a Tiger has received numerous awards, including the American Library Ac./Coretta Scott King Award for an outstanding new book, and was also honored as an ALA Best Books for Young Adults. It has been recognized as one of the best of the year by the Children's Book Council, the New York City Library, Bank Street College, and the National Council for Social Studies. It was also named as Best of the Best by VOYA.

Forged by Fire, the sequel to Tears of a Tiger, was the 1997 Coretta Scott King Award winner, as well as the winner of the ALA Best Book Award and the Parent's Choice Award and the Indiana Young Hoosier Award.

Darkness Before Dawn, the third book in the trilogy, is an ALA Top Ten Quick Pick, and has received the Children's Choice Award from the International Reading Association and received the Buckeye Book Award for 2005, and was named an IRA Young Adult Choice for 2003.

Romiette and Julio is also listed as an ALA Best Book and has been selected by the International Reading Association as a 2000 Notable Book for a Global Society, and by the New York Public Library in their Books for the Teen Age.

Out of My Mind was chosen the winner of the 2013 Sasquatch Reading Award by the readers of Washington State and the 2013 Bluestem Award by the third through fifth graders of Illinois. It won the 2013 California Young Reader Medal and the 2013 Nevada Young Readers Award[6][7][8][9]

Double Dutch was honored as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People by the Children's Book Council as well as one of the top ten sports books for young adults for 2003 by the ALA, and Best of the Best for 2004, and received the Sunshine State Young Readers Award for 2006.

The Battle of Jericho is the 2004 Coretta Scott King Award, one of the New York Public Library's Book for the Teen Age, and is one of the 2005 Young Adult Choice Books named by the International Reading Association.

Fire from the Rock has been selected by the NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Committee as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People for 2008 and is honored on the 2008 New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age.

We Beat the Street is listed on the New York Times Bestseller List and is on VOYA's Non-Fiction Honor List for 2006 and is honored on the 2006 New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age.

Copper Sun received the 2007 Coretta Scott King Award, was named as one of the Top Ten Historical Fiction Books for Youth by Booklist was nominated for the 2007 NAACP Image Award for Literature, and received the Ohioana Award for Young Adult Literature. Copper Sun is also a CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book, received the Heartland Award for Excellence in YA Literature, was named as an IRA Notable Book for a Global Society and was named as Best Book of the Year by School Library Journal. Copper Sun is also listed on the New York Times Bestseller List.

November Blues received the 2008 Coretta Scott King Award and is honored on the 2008 New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age.

Sassy: Little Sister Is Not My Name! received the 2009 Parents Choice Award.


Draper in 2015

Hazelwood High Trilogy[edit]

  • Tears of a Tiger (Simon & Schuster, 1994) ISBN 9780689318788
  • Forged by Fire (S&S, 1997) ISBN 9780689806995
  • Darkness Before Dawn (S&S, 2001) ISBN 9780689830808

Jericho series[edit]

Sassy series[edit]

  1. Sassy: Little Sister Is Not My Name (Scholastic Press, 2009)
  2. Sassy: The Birthday Storm (Scholastic, 2009)
  3. Sassy: The Silver Secret (Scholastic, 2010)
  4. Sassy: The Dazzle Disaster Dinner Party (Scholastic, 2010)

Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs series[edit]

  1. The Buried Bones Mystery (S&S, 1994)
  2. Lost in the Tunnel of Time (S&S, 1996)
  3. Shadows of Caesar's Creek (S&S, 1997)
  4. The Space Mission Adventure (S&S, 2006)
  5. The Backyard Animal Show (S&S, 2006)
  6. Stars and Sparks on Stage (S&S, 2007)

Standalone novels[edit]


  • Teaching from the Heart: reflections, encouragement, and inspiration (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000), LCCN 99-39534
  • Not Quite Burned Out, But Crispy around the Edges: inspiration, laughter, and encouragement for teachers (Heinemann, 2001), LCCN 2001-20423
  • We Beat the Street (Dutton, 2005)


  1. ^ "Sharon M. Draper: Embracing Literacy" by KaaVonia Hinton, Scarecrow Studies in Young Adult Literature, 31, Scarecrow Press, 2008
  2. ^ Simon and Shuster Authors A-Z: Sharon M. Draper
  3. ^ "Sharon M. Draper wins 2015 Edwards Award for Tears of a Tiger, Forged by Fire, Darkness Before Dawn, The Battle of Jericho, November Blues and Copper Sun". Press release February 2, 2015. American Library Association (ALA).
      "Edwards Award". Young Adult Library Services Association. ALA. Retrieved 2015-02-08.
  4. ^ "Sharon Draper Author Page: Biography". 2014 Sharon Draper. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  5. ^ "EBMA Names Sharon M. Draper Winner of the 33rd Annual Jeremiah Ludington Memorial Award", Educational Book & Media Association, October 7, 2011. Retrieved August 17, 1016
  6. ^ "Sasquatch Award". Washington Library Media Association ( Retrieved 2014-04-08.[page needed]
  7. ^ "The Bluestem Award: Illinois' Grades 3-5 Readers' Choice Award". Illinois School Library Media Association ( Retrieved 2014-04-08. 2013 Bluestem Award Winners (pdf).
  8. ^ "Winners: 2013 Winners". California Young Reader Medal ( Archived from the original on 2013-09-03. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
  9. ^ "Nevada Young Readers Award: Past Winners". Nevada Library Association ( Retrieved 2014-05-31. Young Reader Category.

External links[edit]