About Courage #7: Deborah Taylor

GetAttachmentDeborah Taylor is currently Coordinator of School and Student Services for the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Ms. Taylor is the 2015 Chair of the Sibert Award Committee for Outstanding Informational Books and  served as a member of the 2012 Sibert Award Committee. She has chaired the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee. She was a member of the 2004 Michael Printz Award Committee, the 2006 Printz and the 2007 Best Books for Young Adults Committees.  She was a member of the 2002 Newbery Award Committee and Chair of the 2000 Coretta Scott King Award Jury.  She has also served on the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Committee and has reviewed for Horn Book.  She was the 1996-1997 President of the Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association. She also serves on the Editorial Board for Capitol Choices and the Voice of Youth Advocates.

Ms. Taylor chairs a bi-annual Young Adult literature conference, “Books for the Beast“, which brings together adults and teens to discuss and celebrate the best in youth materials.  Ms. Taylor is adjunct professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, teaching young adult literature and she has taught children’s literature at Towson University.

Look for Ms. Taylor to post on Crazy Quilts from time to time in 2014.

I asked Deborah, librarian extraordinaire, if she could develop a list of YA books which reflect courage. The only caveat was that they be written by authors of color. The following is her compilation. What would you add?


Curtis, Christopher Paul. Elijah of Buxton (Ages 9-12). Scholastc, 2007

Elijah leaves the relative safety of his community to help another family defy slavery.

Draper, Sharon. Panic. (Ages 14 and up). Atheneum, 2013

Diamond overcomes the bad decision that resulted in her kidnapping by finding the resolve to escape.

Flake, Sharon. Pinned (ages 12 and up). Scholastic, 2012

Despite having vastly different obstacles to overcome, Autumn and Adonis each have to draw on inner strength to move forward.

Hopkinson, Nalo. Chaos. (Ages 12 and up). Margaret K. McElderry, 2012

Combining elements of fantasy and identity narratives, mixed-race Scotch has to confront a world                         dangerously out of control.

McCall, Guadalupe Garcia. Summer of the Mariposas  (Ages 12 and up). Tu Books, 2012

The five Garza sisters begin a journey that connects them to the spiritual forces of their heritage.

Myers, Walter Dean. Street Love. (Ages 12 and up. Amistad, 2006

Damian has to overcome his family’s objections to love Junice, a girl with the courage to fight the odds of             a difficult family situation.

Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux. No Crystal Stair: A documentary novel of the life and work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller . (Ages 12 and up). Carolrhoda, 2012

Despite being told there were no readers in his community, Lewis Michaux felt a calling to find and share             Black History and culture.

Rhodes, Jewell Parker. Ninth Ward (Ages 9-12). Little, Brown, 2010

Twelve year-old Lanesha is the embodiment of resilience as she struggles through Hurricane Katrina.

Williams-Garcia. One Crazy Summer (Ages 9-12). Amistad, 2010

Delphine takes seriously her role as the oldest to her younger sisters as they fly cross-country to see the                 mother who abandoned them years ago.


Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (Ages 14 and up). Farrar Straus Giroux, 2007.

A boy soldier survives his country’s civil war and then reconnects with his personal humanity.

Bolden, Tonya. Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl. Abrams, 2004

Maritcha’s courageous family fled New York after the Civil War  draft riots but she persevered despite the           challenges of the times.

Davis, Sampson  with George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt. We Beat the Streets: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success. (Ages 10 and up). Dutton, 2005

Three young men find courage in friendship to achieve their dreams.

Hoose, Phillip. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. (Ages 10 and up. Melanie Kroupa, 2009

Before Rosa Parks, a teen-aged Claudette struggled with discrimination on a Montgomery, Alabama bus.

Pinkney, Andrea Davis Pinkney. Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Ages 10 and up). Disney/Jump at the Sun, 2012

Courage is the common denominator linking these men from different eras in America’s history.

There are four postings left in the Courage series. Coming next: Cindy Pon

3 thoughts on “About Courage #7: Deborah Taylor

  1. I am really enjoying your series on courage. It’s a lot of great information to digest. My biggest take away is that we can all be courageous in our daily lives.


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