Angela Shelf Medearis (born November 16, 1956) in Hampton, Virginia. In 1975, she married Michael Rene Medearis, and the couple moved to Austin, Texas. Ms. Medearis attended Southwest Texas State University, has one daughter, Deanna, and one grandchild, Anysa. After working as a secretary for a number of years Ms. Medearis began writing full time in 1987. She founded Book Boosters in 1988, a non-profit, grant supported, multi-cultural reading program tutoring and teaching literacy to grade school children. Her sister Sandra currently directs the program. In 1990, after many rejections, Medearis published her first book, Picking Peas for a Penny, a picture book counting rhyme. According to Medearis, “Picture books are a child’s first step into a lifetime of reading. That is why I feel that my job is important. I want to write in such an interesting and exciting way that the memory of reading my book, and the information I’ve related about a particular event, will linger with a young reader for a lifetime.” (www. …) Medearis has gone on to publish dozens of children’s books about African-Americans with real life themes, as well as history books geared towards young readers, such as Come This Far to Freedom (1993), and brief biographies of Coretta Scott King and Ida B. Wells.
Medearis routinely visits schools and performs storytelling, has produced Children’s Radio Bookmobile for the University of Texas at Austin (a brief weekly program featuring multi-ethnic children’s literature), and has curated African-American exhibits for the George Washington Carver Museum in Austin. Additionally, Mr. and Ms. Medearis act as consultants and writers for Scott Foresman, Scholastic, and Macmillan publishers, creating or contributing textbooks and children’s books. Among many other awards, Medearis won the first ever Teddy, a children’s-book award presented by Laura Bush (Poppa’s New Pants, 1996). In 1997, Texas Monthly magazine featured Ms. Medearis and described her as the best-selling children’s book author in Texas, with over 1.5 million copies of works in print. “I write the kind of books I always longed to find in the library when I was a child. Every child needs to find a reflection of himself or herself when looking for a book in the library or bookstore.”
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Content courtesy of: Texas Archival Resources Online