The Friends of Hackney Library and the Friends of the Wilson County Public Library co-sponsored author Carole Boston Weatherford as the featured speaker for the Fall 2020 lecture on Monday, October 26, 2020 at Hackney Library on the Barton College campus.
Ms. Weatherford is a prolific New York Times bestselling author and poet, both of children’s and young adult works; she is also Professor of English at Fayetteville State University.
One of the leading poets writing for young people today, she believes that poetry makes music with words. She mines the past for family stories, fading traditions, and forgotten struggles. Her work spans poetry, nonfiction, biography, and historical fiction.
According to her web site, Weatherford, a native of Baltimore, started writing at a very young age: “[She] composed her first poem in first grade and dictated the verse to her mother on the ride home from school. Her father, a high school printing teacher, printed some of her early poems on index cards.” Her literary debut, Juneteenth Jamboree, was published in 1995, and she’s been going like gangbusters ever since. Her 50-plus books include many award winners, such as:
Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America (NAACP image Award) Voice of freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement (Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King–John Steptoe New Talent Award, Flora Steiglitz Straus Award from Bank Street College of Education) Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood (Arnold Adoff Earl Poetry Honor) Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (NAACP Image Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Caldecott Honor Medal) Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor and the SCBWI Golden Kite Honor) Becoming Billie Holliday (Coretta Scott King Author Honor) Dear Mr. Rosenwald (SCBWI Golden Kite Honor, NAACP Image Award finalist) Birmingham, 1963 (Jefferson Cup from Virginia Library Association, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, Jane Addams Children’s Literature Honor) The Sound that Jazz Makes (Carter G. Woodson Award from National Council for the Social Studies, NAACP Image Award finalist) Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins (North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award) Remember the Bridge: Poems of a People (North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award)
Her latest well-received releases include the following:
Freedom in Congo Square (illustrated by R. Gregory Christie; Charlotte Zolotow Award winner for outstanding writing in a children’s book, 2016); You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen (illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford; Starred Reviews from both Kirkus Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly, 2017); The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop (illustrated by Frank Morrison; Starred Reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly, 2019), and By and By: Charles Albert Tindley, the Father of Gospel Music (illustrated by Bryan Collier; Booklist Starred Review, 2020).
In addition, Weatherford has won several other awards as a result of her work, including a Ragan-Rubin Award for Literary Achievement from the North Carolina English Teachers Association and the North Carolina Award for Literature, two of the state’s highest civilian honors.
The author completed her undergraduate studies at the American University, earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and holds a Master of Arts in Publications Design from the University of Baltimore. She lives in North Carolina and has two adult children (one of whom, son Jeffery Boston Weatherford, illustrated her book You Can Fly).
The recording of Ms. Weatherford’s lecture is available for viewing here: https://youtu.be/lc_0l8Kr7DQ