Sharon Bell Mathis
Sharon Bell Mathis is a 1-Time AALBC.com Bestselling Author
As a child, one of Sharon Bell Mathis’ favorite reading spaces was the iron fire escape above the backyard. There, she stepped through the pages of books into new and exciting worlds.
But though she had a passion for reading and a talent for writing, Mathis didn’t plan on becoming an author. Instead, she became a teacher after graduating from Morgan State University.
It didn’t take long for Mathis’ books to win acclaim. One of her early middle-grade novels, Sidewalk Story, was chosen as a Child Study Association of America’s Children’s Book of the Year. Tea Cup Full of Roses, another middle-grade, was recognized as a notable title by the American Library Association (ALA). In 1974, she won the Coretta Scott King Author Award for her picture book, Ray Charles. (Illustrator George Ford won the first Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for that title too.) And in 1976, Mathis won one of the industry’s highest awards — a Newbery Honor for The Hundred Penny Box, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.
Whether writing about the life of Ray Charles, exploring the rich bond between a boy and his great-great aunt in The Hundred Penny Box or a girl with a dream of running like the greats in Running Girl: The Diary of Ebonee Rose, Mathis writes stories that celebrate the fortitude, resilience and beauty of African-Americans.