If you’re a fan of young adult literature, then Sharon M. Draper is an author you won’t want to miss. Draper is a prolific and award-winning writer who has penned a number of powerful and thought-provoking books for young readers. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Draper’s life and work and recommend some of her best books to add to your reading list.
Who is Sharon M. Draper?
Sharon M. Draper is a renowned author, educator, and speaker who has made a significant impact in the literary world. Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1952, Draper grew up in a family that placed a high value on education and literature. She was an exceptional student and went on to earn her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English from Pepperdine University.
After completing her education, Draper spent several years teaching in public schools, where she became a National Teacher of the Year in 1997. Her experiences in the classroom inspired her to write books that could help young people deal with the challenges they face in their daily lives.
A Brief Biography
Sharon M. Draper began her writing career in the early 1990s and has since published over 30 books. Her work often deals with themes of race, identity, and social justice, and is known for its authentic and relatable characters. Draper’s books have won numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Award, the John Steptoe New Talent Award, and the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults.
Draper’s writing has been widely acclaimed for its ability to capture the essence of the human experience, particularly for young readers. Her books have been translated into multiple languages and are read by children and adults around the world.
One of Draper’s most well-known works is “Out of My Mind,” which tells the story of a young girl with cerebral palsy who is unable to speak but possesses exceptional intelligence. The book has been praised for its powerful message of inclusion and acceptance, and has become a staple in classrooms and libraries across the country.
Awards and Recognitions
In addition to her impressive body of work, Sharon M. Draper has also been recognized for her contributions to literature and education. She has received a number of prestigious awards, including the National Teacher of the Year award, the Milken Family Foundation National Educator award, and the Literary Lion medal from the Library of Congress.
Draper is also a sought-after speaker and has given presentations at schools, libraries, and conferences across the country. Her talks focus on topics such as diversity, literacy, and the power of storytelling to effect change in the world.
Overall, Sharon M. Draper is a gifted writer, educator, and advocate who has touched the lives of countless young people through her books and her work in the classroom. Her legacy will continue to inspire and educate generations to come.
Top Sharon M. Draper Books for Young Readers
Out of My Mind
Out of My Mind is a powerful and inspiring novel that follows the story of a young girl named Melody who has cerebral palsy. Despite being unable to speak or move on her own, Melody has a brilliant mind and a fierce determination to succeed. With the help of her family and friends, she discovers her voice and realizes that anything is possible if she sets her mind to it.
The author, Sharon M. Draper, has a personal connection to the story of Out of My Mind. Her own daughter has cerebral palsy, and Draper drew on her experiences as a mother to create Melody’s character. This gives the book an added layer of authenticity and emotional depth.
Out of My Mind has been widely praised for its portrayal of disability and its message of perseverance and determination. It’s a must-read for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider or struggled to fit in.
Blended is a thought-provoking and timely novel that explores the complexities of growing up biracial. The story follows the life of eleven-year-old Isabella, who juggles her African American and white identities as she navigates the challenges of adolescence.
The author, Sharon M. Draper, is herself biracial, and she draws on her own experiences to create a nuanced and authentic portrayal of Isabella’s struggles. Through Isabella’s story, Draper explores themes of identity, belonging, and the importance of family and community.
Blended has been praised for its honest and sensitive portrayal of race and identity. It’s a great choice for young readers who are looking for a story that reflects their own experiences or for anyone who wants to better understand the experiences of others.
The Sassy series is a fun and engaging collection of books that follows the adventures of a spunky and smart young girl named Sassy. Throughout the series, Sassy faces a variety of challenges and learns valuable lessons about friendship, family, and the importance of being true to oneself.
One of the things that makes the Sassy series so special is its relatable and lovable characters. Sassy is a character that readers of all ages will root for and relate to, and her friends and family members are equally charming and endearing.
The Sassy series is a great choice for young readers who are just starting to discover the joys of reading. The books are written in a fun and accessible style that will keep kids engaged and entertained from beginning to end.
The Hazelwood High Trilogy
The Hazelwood High Trilogy is a series of young adult novels written by Sharon M. Draper. The series deals with complex and challenging themes such as loss, trauma, abuse, and hope. The books are set in Hazelwood High School, a fictional school in Ohio, and follow the lives of different students who attend the school.
Tears of a Tiger
Tears of a Tiger is the first book in the Hazelwood High Trilogy. The story revolves around the aftermath of a tragic car accident that takes the life of a popular high school student, Andy. The book delves into the lives of four high school students who are struggling to come to terms with the loss of their friend and teammate. The main character, Andy’s best friend, struggles with guilt and depression after the accident.
The book is a powerful and emotional read that deals with the difficult themes of grief, guilt, and suicide. The author’s writing style is raw and honest, and she does a great job of portraying the complex emotions that the characters are going through.
Overall, Tears of a Tiger is a must-read for anyone who has ever faced loss or tragedy. It’s a book that will touch your heart and leave a lasting impression.
Forged by Fire
Forged by Fire is the second book in the Hazelwood High Trilogy. The story follows the life of Gerald, a young boy who grows up in an abusive household. The book deals with the difficult themes of child abuse, neglect, and trauma.
The author does a great job of portraying the effects of abuse on a child’s psyche and how it can shape their future. The book is a great choice for readers who are looking for a story that deals with difficult themes in a respectful and honest way.
Overall, Forged by Fire is a powerful and thought-provoking read that will leave a lasting impression on its readers.
Darkness Before Dawn
Darkness Before Dawn is the final book in the Hazelwood High Trilogy. The story follows the life of Keisha, a young girl who is trying to overcome the pain of her past and build a brighter future for herself. The book deals with the difficult themes of domestic violence, self-esteem, and resilience.
The author does a great job of portraying the struggles that Keisha goes through and how she overcomes them. The book is a great choice for anyone who is looking for a story that will touch their heart and inspire them to never give up on their dreams.
Overall, Darkness Before Dawn is a fitting conclusion to this powerful series. It’s a book that will leave you feeling inspired and hopeful.
The Jericho Trilogy
The Jericho Trilogy is a collection of three young adult novels written by Sharon M. Draper. Each book in the series tells a unique story that deals with the challenges and struggles faced by young people as they navigate the ups and downs of adolescence.
The Battle of Jericho
The Battle of Jericho is the first book in the Jericho Trilogy and is a gripping and suspenseful read. The story follows the lives of a group of high school students who are trying to gain admission to an exclusive and prestigious organization called the Warriors of Distinction. As the students work to prove themselves worthy of the Warriors of Distinction, they are forced to confront the harsh realities of peer pressure, betrayal, and the consequences of their actions.
Throughout the book, readers will be drawn into the lives of the characters and will feel a deep sense of empathy for the challenges they face. From dealing with the pressures of high school to navigating complex relationships with friends and family, the characters in The Battle of Jericho are relatable and engaging.
November Blues is the second book in the Jericho Trilogy and is a heart-wrenching and poignant read. The story follows the life of November, a young girl who must navigate the challenges of teenage pregnancy and the loss of her beloved boyfriend. As November struggles to come to terms with her grief and the challenges of motherhood, she learns valuable lessons about the power of love and the importance of family.
Throughout the book, readers will be moved by November’s strength and resilience in the face of adversity. From the tender moments she shares with her newborn son to the difficult decisions she must make about her future, November’s story is both inspiring and thought-provoking.
Just Another Hero
Just Another Hero is the final book in the Jericho Trilogy and is a thrilling and action-packed read. The story follows the life of Arielle, a young girl who sets out to clear the name of her brother who has been wrongly accused of a crime. As Arielle uncovers the truth about her brother’s situation, she must navigate dangerous situations and confront powerful adversaries in order to set things right.
Throughout the book, readers will be on the edge of their seat as they follow Arielle’s journey. From heart-pumping action scenes to moments of deep emotional resonance, Just Another Hero is a satisfying conclusion to the Jericho Trilogy.
Overall, the Jericho Trilogy is a must-read for anyone who enjoys young adult literature. With its relatable characters, engaging plots, and powerful messages, this series is sure to captivate readers of all ages.
What has Sharon M. Draper written?
Sharon M. Draper has written many books aimed at children and young adults. She is known for writing about the African-American experience, particularly the experience growing up as an African-American adolescent. She has received the Coretta Scott King Award five times for her novels and has also sustained a successful career in education while writing.
Where is Sharon M. Draper from?
Draper was born in Cleveland, Ohio.
Is Sharon M. Draper still writing?
Draper no longer teaches and is instead a full-time writer.