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Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
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About our Author
Vaunda Nelson
The youngest of five children, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson grew up in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. She is the author of No Crystal Stair (Carolrhoda Lab, 2012), Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal (Carolrhoda Books, 2009) and Almost to Freedom (Carolrhoda Books 2003). She co-authored Juneteenth (Millbrook, 2006) with her husband, Drew Nelson. Nelson won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction in 2012 for No Crystal Stair, the Coretta Scott King Author Award for Bad News for Outlaws, and Almost to Freedom received a Coretta Scott King Honor for Colin Bootman's illustrations. She has been a teacher, a newspaper reporter, a bookseller, a school librarian, and twice a member of the Newbery Award Committee. Nelson holds master's degrees from The Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College (Vermont) and from the University of Pittsburgh School of Library and Information Science, where she specialized in children's services. She received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Point Park University in Pittsburgh in conjunction with delivering the 2006 commencement address. The author is a youth services librarian at the public library in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, where she lives with her husband.
Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
Coretta Scott King Book Award
ALA Notable Children's Books
Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award
Bluestem Award
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children
Carter G. Woodson Book Award
Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices
Coretta Scott King Book Award
ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award
Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Honor
NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
New Mexico-Arizona Book Award
Notable Books for a Global Society
Once Upon a World Children's Book Award
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards
SCBWI Golden Kite Award
Virginia Readers' Choice Award
Western Writers of America Spur Awards
Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
ABC Best Books for Children Catalog List
Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children
Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books
Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices
Coretta Scott King Book Award
Horn Book Best Books of the Year
Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year
Moonbeam Children's Book Award
NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts
New Mexico-Arizona Book Award
Notable Books for a Global Society
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2012
School Library Journal Best Book
Tayshas Reading List
YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
5 QUESTIONS for  Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
1
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
Uncle Wiggily and Jackie and Peetie Bow Wow by Howard Garis, and poetry that my father used to recite from memory like "Oh Captain, My Captain" and "Little Orphan Annie." Another book that stays in my memory is Bright April by Marguerite de Angeli.
2
What’s your favorite line from a book?
There are many great lines, but one of my favorites is, "You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them." (Scout recalling Atticus Finch's words in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
3
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
This is a question impossible for me to answer. There are so many wonderful authors and illustrators and they all are so different. Three of my favorite books are—To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. But there are many, many others.
4
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
My mother read to us every night and my father wrote and recited poetry. They shared their love of words and stories. They taught me the power of language and inspired me to use this power to create the kind of writing that might move others the way I was, and continue to be, moved.
5
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Read. Reading other writers can help you to learn about the craft of writing, about what makes a story work.

Write often. Don't wait for inspiration to strike. Writers need to practice just like musicians and athletes. Perfect your craft so that when you are inspired, you have the skills to tell your story.

Love words and make every one count. Care as much about how you say a thing as you do about what you are saying. Don't be so anxious to submit to a publisher that you settle for something less than your best work.
AUTHOR
Lerner Blog
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