Books by Angela Johnson

ALL DIFFERENT NOW by Angela Johnson
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: May 6, 2014

"The richness of this book's words and images will inspire readers to learn more about this holiday that never should have been necessary…but was. (Web resources, glossary) (Picture book. 5-9)"
Johnson tells a tale of Juneteenth in Texas through the eyes of a child, while Lewis' earth-toned watercolor illustrations capture the quotidian aspects of the way of life emancipation ended. Read full book review >
LOTTIE PARIS AND THE BEST PLACE by Angela Johnson
Released: March 5, 2013

"Bound to be a favorite for storytimes, classroom sharing and pre-library visits. After all, libraries are the best place. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Librarians get out your order pads; this picture-book homage to libraries is a charmer. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 28, 2012

"A wonderfully crafted and deeply satisfying novel, full of detail that provides texture and meaning. (Fiction. 14 & up)"
Scotty's world is turned upside down when an accident leaves her brother severely injured, an acquaintance dead and Scotty feeling responsible. Read full book review >
LOTTIE PARIS LIVES HERE by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: Aug. 30, 2011

"The final spread shows the small family's love: Lottie in Papa Pete's lap on the porch swing, eyes closed, smiling, cuddling her little dog on her lap. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Sure, she lives here, but she also plays, pretends and occasionally gets in trouble in this lively story about a young African-American girl and her Papa Pete. Read full book review >
THE DAY RAY GOT AWAY by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: Sept. 7, 2010

"Some may wish for a back story—or to know what happens to Ray as he continues sedately skyward—but small listeners who occasionally tire of holding hands every time they go out may find Ray's boldness thrilling and poetically liberating. (Picture book. 2-5)"
A huge yellow parade balloon manages to slip his tether and elude his handlers. Read full book review >
SWEET, HEREAFTER by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: Jan. 5, 2010

Sweet never really fit in at home or at school, but she has satisfying friends and connections. Read full book review >
WIND FLYERS by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: Jan. 9, 2007

"Just as surely as the narrator and his uncle find magic in the clouds and the wind, readers will find plenty to marvel at in the pages of this compelling offering. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)"
In spare, lyrical prose and vibrant acrylic paintings, three-time Coretta Scott King Award-winner Johnson and acclaimed illustrator Long introduce readers to the WWII Tuskegee airmen, the African-American squadron that "distinguished themselves as the only escort group that never lost a single bomber to enemy fire." Read full book review >
LILY BROWN’S PAINTINGS by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2007

"Lovely and buoyant. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Lewis's dynamic brush combines two art styles to show the interaction between a girl's real life and her imaginative life inside her paintings. Read full book review >
A SWEET SMELL OF ROSES by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2005

"Powerful and moving. (Picture book. 6-10)"
Two children take part in a freedom march in the days of the civil-rights struggle in the south. Read full book review >
BIRD by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

"A lovely and sad glimpse of individuals caring for one another in an imperfect world. (Fiction. 10-13)"
Bird confronts friendship, family, and human limitations in this poignant tale. Read full book review >
JUST LIKE JOSH GIBSON by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2004

"Johnson never disappoints; in this one memory, family stories and baseball braid together a sweetly powerful and slyly subversive tale. (Picture book. 6-9)"
Peck's strong, evocative pastels with their vintage look are just right for Johnson's home run of a story. Read full book review >
VIOLET’S MUSIC by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2004

"That message adds an extra level of meaning generally missing from similar tales of young music-makers. (Picture book. 7-9)"
Children marching to the beat of different drummers may take comfort from this tale of a born musician who grows up playing alone, but never doubts that she will find kindred spirits one day. Read full book review >
A COOL MOONLIGHT by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"Poignant, evocative, and as lingering as sunburn, Lila's story is one of courage, hope, and dreams. (Fiction. 8-11)"
The innovative Johnson has crafted an original story in both content and writing style. Read full book review >
I DREAM OF TRAINS by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"Perhaps—but the dream of boarding a train to find one's 'place in the big wide world' is one that echoes through every generation. (Picture book. 7-9)"
In this poetic reverie, a sharecropper's son dreams of riding with Casey Jones and his fireman Sim Webb. Read full book review >
THE FIRST PART LAST by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: June 1, 2003

"It's the tale of one young man and his choices, which many young readers will appreciate and enjoy. (Fiction. YA)"
"The rules: If she hollers, she is mine. If she needs to be changed, she is always mine. Read full book review >
RUNNING BACK TO LUDIE by Angela Johnson
POETRY
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

"Overall, however, this slender offering packs an honest emotional punch. (Fiction/poetry. 10-15)"
A series of spare, linked poems tell the story of a teenage girl's fleeting reunion with the mother who left her many years ago. Read full book review >
THOSE BUILDING MEN by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: Feb. 1, 2001

"Let readers spend time more profitably with the likes of John Henry or Mike Mulligan. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Vague text and anemic pictures make this at best a half-hearted tribute to the construction workers of the last century or so. Read full book review >
WHEN MULES FLEW ON MAGNOLIA STREET by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: Dec. 1, 2000

"Middle readers will find Magnolia Street well worth repeat visits. (Fiction. 9-11)"
Following up Maniac Monkeys on Magnolia Street (1998), Johnson rejoins Charlie and her friends, Lump and Billy, for more neighborhood comings, goings, and hijinks. Read full book review >
DOWN THE WINDING ROAD by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 1, 2000

"A fine book about a strong African-American family and a moving story about the relationship between children and the older members of a family that doesn't involve death, Alzheimer's Disease, or dwell too heavily on other problems of aging. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A poignant story about enduring bonds adds a special touch to a common family experience. Read full book review >
THE WEDDING by Angela Johnson
Released: March 1, 1999

An older sister's wedding makes a girl feel lonely at first, but she is ultimately caught up in the bonds created by this big family gathering. Read full book review >
MANIAC MONKEYS ON MAGNOLIA STREET by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Dec. 1, 1998

"Her sunny outlook and the recurring emphasis on friendship may win fans. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-11)"
This chapter book finds Charlene, or Charlie, getting accustomed to a move to Magnolia Street. Read full book review >
THE OTHER SIDE by Angela Johnson
POETRY
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

"Illustrated with family snapshots, this bittersweet volume will catch the heart of any reader who believes that growing up means leaving home behind. (Poetry. 10-14)"
Johnson (Gone From Home, p. 1036, etc.) offers a collection of poems that comprise a single, intricate story of the town of Shorter, Alabama, a place she "loved and hated." Read full book review >
HEAVEN by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

After spending most of her life in bucolic Heaven, Ohio, a teenager finds her certainties come tumbling down. Read full book review >
GONE FROM HOME by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"Ranging from anecdotes to novels-in-miniature, they are all written with an economy of expression that will appeal to less-practiced readers while still precisely—brilliantly—conveying complex situations and responses. (Short stories. 11-15)"
With her usual sensitivity to adolescent emotional landscapes fully evident in these 12 (11 new) short stories, Johnson (Humming Whispers, 1995, etc.) explores the notion of giving or receiving help in time of need. Read full book review >
SONGS OF FAITH by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 1998

"But the message is uplifting—even though her family cannot be together, and she is still in pain, Doreen is left at the conclusion still full of love and, more importantly, hope. (Fiction. 9-12)"
A young African-American girl struggles to reconcile her parents' divorce and the subsequent fragmentation of her family in this eloquent and life-affirming novel from Johnson (Humming Whispers, 1995, etc.). Read full book review >
POETRY
Released: Nov. 1, 1997

"Brief biographies of the contributors appear in the back of this inventive, evocative book. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Steptoe (son of the late John Steptoe) creates art for 13 poems that honor fathers, e.g., Sonia Sanchez's ``I have looked into/my father's eyes and seen an/african sunset.'' Among others who have contributed to the volume are Folami Abiade (with the title poem), Lenard D. Moore, Dakari Hru, and Dinah Johnson. Read full book review >
DADDY CALLS ME MAN by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

"This may be a book to pair with Peter Catalanotto's The Painter (1995), for two glimpses of the lives of artists. (Picture book. 3-6)"
This story from Johnson (The Rolling Store, p. 300, etc.) consists of four short verses (``Big Shoes,'' ``Spin,'' ``Noah's Moon,'' and ``Baby Sister'') about the happy home life of a young African-American boy. Read full book review >
THE ROLLING STORE by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 1, 1997

"He closes the circle of the story so seamlessly that the illustrations in the first and last pages of the book clearly echo past and present. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Johnson (The Aunt in Our House, 1996, etc.) has an unnamed African-American girl recall her grandfather's words about the ``rolling store'' (an itinerant peddler's truck) that periodically visited a country crossroads when her grandfather was young. Read full book review >
THE AUNT IN OUR HOUSE by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 1, 1996

"Readers never know why the aunt has come to stay, but they will certainly understand that the family's life is enhanced by her presence in this subtle and affecting work. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A restrained, somewhat sorrowful work from two frequent collaborators (The Leaving Morning, 1992, etc.). Read full book review >
HUMMING WHISPERS by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 1995

"An ambitious work, as startling in its originality as Johnson's award-winning Toning the Sweep (1993). (Fiction. 12+)"
The slow and melancholy stream of consciousness of Sophy, 14, whose life and thoughts revolve around her older sister, Nicole. Read full book review >
SHOES LIKE MISS ALICE'S by Angela Johnson
FICTION
Released: March 1, 1995

"There's a good idea here, but it is so stripped down that readers are unlikely to find its comforting message. (Picture book. 4-7)"
A new sitter charms away her young charge's anxiety in this brief, unpersuasive problem-solver from Johnson (Toning the Sweep, 1993, etc.). Read full book review >
TONING THE SWEEP by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 1993

"Place this brave and wonderful piece of storytelling with the best of YA fiction. (Fiction. 12+)"
Johnson's spare, beautifully written first novel—a thematic extension of Tell Me a Story, Mama (1989)—portrays a crucial turning point for African-American women from three generations. Read full book review >
JULIUS by Angela Johnson
by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Dav Pilkey
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1993

"Using ink, paint, fabric swatches, and even coffee spatters, Pilkey creates a riotous sequence in which Maya's happy face contrasts comically with her parents' glowers while her adored pink friend floats with bulbous grace. (Picture book. 4-7)"
The author of When I Am Old With You (1990) and other celebrations of loving companionship teams up with the mad colorist of When Cats Dream (1992) for a tale of a black family that finds itself saddled with a huge, exuberant pet. Read full book review >
THE LEAVING MORNING by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 1, 1992

"A gently reassuring view of a common, and often traumatic, experience. (Picture book. 3-6)"
As in Tell Me a Story, Mama (1989) and other books this team has created, the importance of family gets thematic pride of place here. Read full book review >
ONE OF THREE by Angela Johnson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 1, 1991

"(Picture book. 3-8)"
``I'm one of the three that looks just like our mama, smiles just like our daddy, and holds hands with my sisters....'' In another warm evocation of a loving black family, the author of Tell Me a Story, Mama (1989) depicts a little girl whose older sisters often include her—but not always; then it can be ``just Mama, Daddy, and me, it's a different kind of three, and that's fine too....'' Soman's watercolors glow with good humor and affection. Read full book review >

Together, a new author and a new illustrator make an outstanding debut. Read full book review >