Saturday, November 17, 2007

Biography of Sharon Draper

Sharon Draper

Award-Winning Author and Educator

Sharon Draper is the winner of numerous awards including the Coretta Scott King Literary Award, National Teacher of the Year Award and is a New York Times bestselling author, just to name a few of her accolades. A native of Ohio, she began her career as a National Board Certified educator and happened into the writer's world after being challenged by her students to enter a writing contest for Ebony Magazine of which she won. After her achievement, Sharon wrote her first novel Tears of a Tiger in 1994. Things didn't just magically happen for her after that. Eventually the book picked up, gained lots of popularity amongst teachers and students and the demand of more from Sharon took off.

Sharon's first book turned into a trilogy (The Hazelwood High Trilogy). Kids felt like they went to school with the characters in these books and could really relate to the issues dealt with in at least one of the stories. In an interview, Sharon said "I think I understand kids' mindset." This is how she gets inspiration to write her books. If you read the interview I linked, Sharon talks about how understanding the way teens think and who they are, she is able to write for them and about them. In another interview, Sharon admits that she likes historic authors like Charles Dickens, but he wrote for his contemporaries 150 years ago. Mrs. Draper writes because she understands that kids today would rather read about people like them NOW. She wants young people to learn to read and says that "reading shouldn't be painful, it should be painless."

This beautiful author is like the R. Kelly of the literary world, (she doesn't limit herself to just one genre or demographic). Sharon has written fictional novels for pre-teens and young adults about drinking and driving, child abuse, suicide and surviving life's trials, she's written poetry books for children and adults, her newest book is about slavery and she has even written books for teachers. As an accomplished public speaker, Sharon travels all over the world speaking to people about the importance of education and literacy .

Through her website, schools and organizations can request a visit from Sharon. Since she's retired from teaching herself, she is more than happy to come to schools for a day. Sharon will spend time reading her books to groups, and will sometimes teach an English lesson to small classes. She likes to speak with teachers as well and give them tips to survial.

Sharon Mills Draper is an accomplished writer, speaker and educator. Her books will have you hooked and you won't want to put them down. Since reading the first two books in her first trilogy, I am eager to read the last one, plus the wide collection of Sharon Draper books. Mrs. Draper enjoys the rare spare time she has with her husband, four children and her dog Honey.

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