Vaunda Micheaux Nelson blames her work as writer and librarian on her loving parents, who read to her relentlessly every night.
Her latest book, No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller won the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for fiction, a 2013 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, Best of Show in the 2012 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards, and came out on top in the 2013 School Library Journal Battle of the Kids’ Books. Vaunda received the 2010 Coretta Scott King Author Award for Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal, which earned numerous other awards including the Simon Wiesenthal Once Upon a World Children’s Book Award, a Carter G. Woodson Honor, an Anne Izard Storyteller’s Choice Award, and was a finalist for a Western Writers of America Spur Award.
Her first book, Always Gramma was selected by the Children’s Book Council as a Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies. Mayfield Crossing won the 27th annual Georgia Children's Book Award and Almost to Freedom won a Coretta Scott King Honor for Colin Bootman’s illustrations. In 2010, Who Will I Be, Lord? was cited as “highly commended” by the Charlotte Zolotow Award committee. Her other books include Ready? Set. Raymond!, Beyond Mayfield, Possibles, and Juneteenth which she co-authored with her husband, Drew Nelson. Vaunda’s poetry has been published in Cricket and Cicada magazines.
Vaunda has been a teacher, newspaper reporter, bookseller, school librarian, and has served on Newbery and Caldecott award committees. She 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.
In addition to her work as an author, the Pennsylvania native is a youth services librarian at the public library in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, where she lives with her husband and a cat named Charlie.
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