Faculty and Staff
|Department:||English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
|Resources:||Department of English Language and Literature|
PhD, Yale University, American Studies, 1988
MA, Yale University, Afro-American Studies, 1984
AB, Princeton University, English/Creative Writing, 1982
Spring Valley High School, Columbia, SC, 1978
Fellow, NEH Summer Institute on Black Film, University of Central Florida, 1999
Areas of Specialization
• Children's and Young Adult Literature
• African American Literature
• Creative Writing
• African American Film
• Multicultural American Autobiography
Recently Taught Courses
• Children's Literature
• Young Adult Literature
• Creative Writing/Writing of Children's Books
• African American Film
• Hair Dance, A Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year and Cooperative Children's
Book Center (Univ. of Wisconsin) Choice.
• USC Black Faculty and Staff Association Award for Continuing Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship, 2000.
• Multiple time recipient, Mortar Board Award for Excellence in Teaching, USC.
Current Research Projects
I'm always working on developing ideas for picture books. Black Magic (2009), turning the negative meanings of blackness upside down, is particularly important to me. My hope is that readers join me in celebrating Blackness in its many manifestations. For young adults, I'm working on a novel inspired by my first journey to the continent of Africa almost three decades ago, with a multiracial group of American students. It was a journey that is at the heart of who I am as teacher, writer, and parent.
• Black Magic, illus. by R. Gregory Christie, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, 2009.
• "African American Women Writers of Children's and Young Adult Literature," in The Cambridge Companion to African American Women's Literature, edited by Angelyn Mitchell and Danille K. Taylor, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
• Hair Dance, photography by Kelly Johnson, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, 2007.
• Featured speaker, Children's Literature Association annual conference, Charlotte,
NC, June 2009.
• Featured speaker, University of South Carolina's Adrenee Glover Freeman Memorial Lecture (Women's Studies Program), October 2008.
• Featured speaker, Little Black Sambo Symposium, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, September 2008.
• Chair of Advisory Board, Children's Defense Fund's Langston Hughes Library
• Advisory Board Member, International Research in Children's Literature (journal)
• Advisory Editor, Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature