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Joyce Carol Thomas

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Joyce Carol Thomas is an internationally renowned author who received the National Book Award for her first novel, Marked by Fire, now available in its gorgeous 25th anniversary Disney/Hyperion edition. In addition, HarperCollins is launching The Blacker the Berry, celebrating the rainbow shades of the rich complexion of girls and boys and recently garnering rave reviews. Joyce received a Coretta Scott King Honor for her first picture book, Brown Honey In Broomwheat Tea. Her other titles include I Have Heard Of A Land, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book; The Gospel Cinderella; Crowning Glory; Gingerbread Days; and A Gathering Of Flowers: Stories About Being Young in America.

Ms. Thomas lives in Berkeley, California.

The Blacker the Berry
illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Amistad, 2008
ISBN 978-0060253752

We are color struck
The way an artist strikes
His canvas with his brush of many hues

Look closely at these mirrors
these palettes of skin
Each color is rich
in its own right

Black is dazzling and distinctive, like toasted wheat berry bread; snowberries in the fall; rich, red cranberries; and the bronzed last leaves of summer. In this lyrical and luminous collection, Coretta Scott King honorees Joyce Carol Thomas and Floyd Cooper celebrate these many shades of black beautifully.

Awards and Recognition
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book; Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award

Blacker the Berry

Collected Novels for Teens
Hyperion, 2008
young adult, ISBN 978-1423101543

In these four acclaimed novels, National Book Award-winning author Joyce Carol Thomas evocatively captures the triumph and struggles of teens as they come of age, and break and bond with their families. The novels are Bright Shadow, Water Girl, The Golden Pasture, and Journey.

Collected Novels

Marked by Fire [a young adult novel]
Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2007
young adult, ISBN 978-1-4231-0143-7

She has grown up—Abyssinia Jackson has—under a vast Oklahoma sky shaded with pecan trees and dotted by endless rows of cotton. She has the gift of song, a storyteller's talent, the love of her parents, and the affection and pride of her community. In this debut novel, Abby emerges clearly as a young woman who faces pain, laughter, anguish, and joy with the dignity of her heritage and the determination of her spirit.

This young adult novel won the National Book Award in 1983 and has been released in a 25th-anniversary edition.

Marked by Fire

illustrated by Annie Lee
Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2007
ages 4 to 8, ISBN 978-0-7868-0664-5

Shouting is a picture book celebration of the expression of faith. The lyrical text by Joyce Carol Thomas is reflected and magnified in the pulsating, energetic paintings by Annie Lee.


Three Witches
adapted from work by Zora Neale Hurston
illustrated by Faith Ringgold
HarperCollins, 2006
ages 4 to 8, ISBN 978-0060006495

The three bad witches are HUNGRY! "Let's eat these children," they say. They may have teeth that are longer than their lips and they may wear high heels, but they are NO match for two smart children, their brave grandma, three hound dogs, and a fast-running snake.

The Three Witches was first published in Every Tongue Got to Confess, the third volume of folklore collected by Zora Neale Hurston while traveling in the Gulf States in the 1930s. It has been adapted for young people by National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Thomas.

Three Witches

Six Fools
adapted from work by Zora Neale Hurston
illustrated by Ann Tanksley
HarperCollins, 2006
ages 9 to 12, ISBN 978-0060006464

Who's the biggest fool?

Is it the girl who floods her basement with cider, the man who jumps into his pants, the farmer who feeds his cow on the roof, or the woman who tries to fill her wheelbarrow with sunshine?

Based on a story collected by Zora Neale Hurston during her travels in 1930s Gulf States, The Six Fools is an outrageously funny tale about a dashing young man who finds foolish folks aplenty and true love!

Six Fools

What's the Hurry, Fox?
adapted from work by Zora Neale Hurston
illustrated by Bryan Collier
HarperCollins, 2004
ages 9 to 12, ISBN 978-0060006433

Acclaimed anthropologist, folklorist, and novelist Zora Neale Hurston traveled the back roads of the rural South, collecting stories from men, women, and children so that the spirit and richness of the oral storytelling tradition could be shared and preserved. What's the Hurry, Fox? is a sampling of stories from Every Tongue Got To Confess, Ms. Hurston's third volume of folktales collected from the Gulf states in the 1930s. They have been carefully adapted and shaped by National Book Award and Coretta Scott King Award–winning author Joyce Carol Thomas to appeal to the sensibilities of young readers.

What's the Hurry, Fox?

The Skull Talks Back
adapted from work by Zora Neale Hurston
illustrated by Leonard Jenkins
HarperCollins, 2004
ages 9 to 12, ISBN 978-0060006310

Do you dare
to cross paths with ...

An enchantress who can slip
in and out of her skin,
A man more evil than the devil,
A skull who talks back,
A pair of creepy feet that can
walk on their own?

Spooky, chilling, and fantastical, this collection of six scary tales will send shivers up your spine!

The stories in the skull talks back have been selected from Every Tongue Got To Confess, Zora Neale Hurston's third volume of folklore. Through Joyce Carol Thomas' carefully adapted text and Leonard Jenkins' arresting illustrations, the soulful, fanciful imaginations of ordinary folk will reach readers of all ages.

The Skull Talks Back

The Gospel Cinderella
illustrated by David Diaz
Amistad, 2004
ages 4 to 8, ISBN 978-0060253875

Once upon a time...there was a singing Cinderella? Yes, with a voice as flavorful as licorice. There was also a Crooked Foster Mother and two evil sisters. A Queen Mother Rhythm and a Prince of Music. And while there was no glass slipper to leave behind at the Great Gospel Convention, there was an enchanted melody for the Prince to search for...and to find.

Gospel Cinderella

Linda Brown, You Are Not Alone
Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2003
ages 9 to 12, ISBN 978-0786808212

When the Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools was handed down in 1954, the course of American history was forever changed. Here are personal reflections, stories, and poems from ten of today's most accomplished writers for children, all young people themselves at the time of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. With a compelling introduction by editor Joyce Carol Thomas and stunning pastel artwork by Curtis E. James, this collection celebrates the hard-earned promise of equality in education.

Linda Brown, You Are Not Alone

Crowning Glory
illustrated by Brenda Joysmith
Joanna Cotler Books, 2002
ages 9 to 12, ISBN 978-0060234737

With these joyous poems, National Book Award and American Book Award winning author Joyce Carol Thomas lovingly celebrates the beauty and distinction of African-American hair. Thomas' lyrical language shares what is special about hair that is dreadlocked, braided, adorned, or worn free.

Crowning Glory

illustrated by Pamela Johnson
Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2001
baby to preschool, ISBN 978-0786807505

Through the warm moments of summer, the vibrant days of fall, the chilly weeks of winter, and the cheerful months of spring—you are my joy!


The Angel's Lullabye
illustrated by Pamela Johnson
Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2001
baby to preschool, ISBN 978-0786805631

Heavenly angels gently lull a young girl to sleep in this beautiful rock-a-bye board book.

Angel's Lullabye

A Mother's Heart, A Daughter's Love:
Poems for Us to Share

Joanna Cotler, 2001
ages 9 to 12, ISBN 978-0-06-029649-0

With twenty-five eloquent poems written in two voices —daughter's and mother's—that speak as one, speak in unison, and even harmonize on the page, National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Thomas celebrates the moments in life that form the unique bond between every mother and and daughter—from birth to girlhood and into adulthood.

A Mother's Heart, A Daughter's Love

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