This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry,by Mildred D. Taylor. Taylor, one of the first African-American children’s-book authors to gain widespread acclaim, later won the Newbery Medal for the book. Her work was pivotal in empowering black children to see themselves in young adult literature—inspiring a modern generation of black writers to believe that our stories could have a place in the world of children’s literature.
“I am a writer because Ms. Taylor wrote this book and I saw myself inside the pages of it,” says writer Jacqueline Woodson, winner of the National Book Award for her novel Brown Girl Dreaming.
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