I write for children, teens, and adults.
I am the author of Uncle Jed’s Barbershop (Simon & Schuster), Granddaddy’s Gift (Scholastic), When Grandmama Sings (HarperCollins), The People In The Park (Watershed Books), and Woman In The Pulpit (Castlewood Books).
Featured on the PBS show Reading Rainbow, Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is on a multitude of school lists of required reading throughout the United States. It is also reprinted in several international textbooks.
The team of David Wohl, Kenneth Grimes, and Susan Einhorn has adapted Uncle Jed’s Barbershop into an award-winning musical featuring Broadway veteran Ken Prymus as Uncle Jed. Uncle Jed’s Barbershop was a featured show in the New York Musical Theater Festival and won the National Music Theater Network’s Directors Choice Award.
In my books for children I use history to encourage students to shoot for the stars with aspirations for their lives. If they can see the accomplishments of people who lived long ago who achieved their dreams in less than ideal situations, I hope students will be inspired and know they can do even more with their lives.
Several years ago I visited with students who didn’t believe they were special. They certainly didn’t believe they had special gifts to share with the world. I was surprised that no one in the entire room thought they had within them the power to change the world. I asked why. They said no one had ever told them so. Therefore, whenever I speak to children, I try to inspire them to dream big dreams for their lives and believe those dreams can come true.
In my teen fiction book, The People In The Park, I explore what happens in the lives of teens when something devastating happens through no fault of their own. Teens are blamed for lots of what’s wrong in the world. But there are teens who are good students and good citizens who successfully navigate life changing situations. I thought it would be interesting to show through a story how they work through their issues and return to normal, while becoming better for having gone through the experience.
I hope teens groups use The People In The Park for discussion.
Teens throughout the country are weighing in on Lauren (the main character in The People In The Park) and her situation. Lively discussions are taking place on whether teens agree or disagree with Lauren and the decisions she makes.
I wrote Woman In The Pulpit after listening to several friends, who are female ministers, talk about their experiences in the pulpit. Through the book I attempt to show the challenges women in the ministry face as they seek to carry out their calling.