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Mildred D. Taylor

Mildred DeLois Taylor (born September 13, 1943) is a Newbery Award-winning African-American young adult novelist.[2] She is known for exploring powerful themes of family, and intense themes of racism faced by African Americans in the Deep South, in works that are accessible to young readers. She was awarded the 1977 Newbery Medal for her novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and the inaugural NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature in 2003.

Mildred D. Taylor
BornMildred DeLois Taylor
(1943-09-13) September 13, 1943 (age 76)
Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Toledo (1965)[1]
GenreChildren's literature
Notable worksRoll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Notable awardsNewbery Medal

NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature


Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1943, and is the great-granddaughter of a former slave who was the son of an African-Indian woman and a white landowner. As a young child she moved to Toledo, Ohio where she attended Toledo’s public schools and eventually graduated from the University of Toledo in 1965. She then spent two years with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, and, after returning to the United States, earned a master's degree in journalism at the University of Colorado where she was instrumental in creating a Black Studies Program as a member of the Black Student Alliance. She now lives in Colorado.[3]

Taylor's books chronicle the lives of several generations of the Logan family, from times of slavery to the Jim Crow era. Her most recognizable work is Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976), which won the Newbery Medal in 1977 and has been integrated into the language arts curriculum in many classrooms across the United States. "Roll of Thunder" is flanked by several books including that also includes titles such as Song of the Trees (1975), Let the Circle Be Unbroken (1981), The Road to Memphis (1992), and The Land (2001).[4] Her collective contributions to children's literature resulted in her being awarded the inaugural NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature in 2003.[5]

Taylor's works are based on oral history told to her by her father, uncles, and aunt. Taylor has said that without her family, and especially without her father, her books "would not have been".[6] She has stated that these anecdotes became very clear in her mind, and in fact, once she realized that adults talked about the past, "I began to visualize all the family who had once known the land, and I felt as if I knew them, too ..."[7]



Body of Work

Song of the Trees

  • First prize (African-American category), Council on Interracial Books for Children, 1973
  • Outstanding Book of the Year Citation, The New York Times, 1975
  • Jane Addams Honors Citation, 1976

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Let the Circle Be Unbroken

  • Outstanding Book of the Year Citation, The New York Times, 1981
  • Jane Addams Honor Citation, 1982
  • American Book Award nomination, 1982
  • Coretta Scott King Award, 1982

The Friendship

The Gold Cadillac

The Road to Memphis

  • Special Award, Children's Book Council, 1988
  • Coretta Scott King Award, 1990

Mississippi Bridge

  • Christopher Award, 1990

The Well: David's Story

  • Jane Addams Book Award, Jane Addams Peace Council, 1996

The Land

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Mississippi Writers Page: "Mildred D.Taylor" at University of Mississippi
  2. ^ "Mildred D. Taylor". Penguin Random House. Penguin Random House. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  3. ^ "Author Profile: Mildred D. Taylor". World Literature Today. 78 (2): 3. May 2004. JSTOR 40158381.
  4. ^ "Logans series" at Goodreads.
  5. ^ "My life as a writer. (Mildred D. Taylor)". World Literature Today. May 1, 2004. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  6. ^ Taylor, Mildred D. (September 2014). "Tapped on the Shoulder". World Literature Today. 88 (5): 60–61. doi:10.7588/worllitetoda.88.5.0060.
  7. ^ "Acceptance of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for The Friendship". The Horn Book Magazine. March 1989. pp. 179–80.
  8. ^ "2003 – Mildred D. Taylor". The Neustadt Prize. Retrieved April 12, 2014.

External linksEdit