Telling the Stories of Women Since 1991
I'm delighted to announce that my tenth book, Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York, won the inaugural Septima Clark Book Award from the National Council for the Social Studies. The award is given to "the most distinguished young reader non-fiction books depicting women's issues globally."
NCSS is the same national organization that administers the long-standing Carter G. Woodson Awards with which many of us are familiar.
Streetcar to Justice, published Jan. 2, 2018 by HarperCollins/Greenwillow, earned starred reviews from both Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus. The book is an American Library Association Notable Book 2019 as well as a CCBC Choice, the annual best-of-the-year list of the Cooperative Children's Book Center of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
This is my first book for middle-grade (and up) readers. It is the first biography of Elizabeth Jennings (Graham), the Rosa Parks of Old New York who was all-but-forgotten by time. I located and studied original sources including stories published in long-defunct newspapers from the 1830s. My research is the first time her full story was confirmed and documented.
I didn't set out to write a book about Elizabeth Jennings. I had been researching her story as a hobby of sorts for more than twenty years. (Yes, historical research is one of my hobbies.) Eventually, a writer-friend told me I had a responsibility to take the boxes of research down from the attic, dig through them, and share what I had learned with the world. I chose to write the book for a broad age-range of readers, starting at age 8, the age at which most American children first study the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s and are introduced to the iconic historical figure, Rosa Parks.
I'm thrilled that my work has brought long-overdue attention to Elizabeth Jennings. Streetcar to Justice even played a part in the selection, in March 2019, of Elizabeth Jennings by the City of New York as one of four new statues of women.