Books by Tonya Bolden

DARK SKY RISING by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Released: Jan. 29, 2019

"Well-intentioned, well-researched, but awkwardly written considering the caliber of the scholar and his expected scholarship. (selected sources, endnotes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)"
"In your hands you are holding my book…my very first venture in writing for young readers," Gates writes in a preface. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 8, 2019

"A compelling and significant novel. (Historical fiction. 13-18)"
In 1880s Savannah, an African-American girl seizes the opportunity to enter a different life. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 16, 2018

"This a-peel-ing story will give readers a new appreciation for spuds. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)"
Junius G. Groves, named "Potato King of the World" by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1902, was the richest black man "living between the Missouri River and the Rockies," according to the Indianapolis Recorder. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 11, 2018

"Revealing our racialized past and arguing that we must refashion our nation in pursuit of a new, beloved, and just society. (discussion guide, sources, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)"
"It is time to rethink America." Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 9, 2018

"A spirited biography that fully honors its redoubtable subject. (author's note, timeline, source notes, selected sources, index) (Biography. 10-14)"
The story of one of the most iconic and photographed figures in American history. Read full book review >
Released: May 30, 2017

"A poetic, raw, and extraordinary imagining of a little-known, shameful chapter in American history. (Historical fiction. 13-adult)"
A newly emancipated young woman finds love and tragedy as she marches to freedom during the Civil War Read full book review >
PATHFINDERS by Tonya Bolden
Released: Jan. 10, 2017

"A lively volume and an excellent approach to U.S. history. (glossary, source notes, bibliography, image credits, acknowledgments, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
In 16 minibiographies, Bolden tells the stories of little-known African-Americans who "had big, bold dreams. Pursued passions. Caught up with their callings." Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"An inspiring tale as well as a tantalizing invitation to visit one of our country's newest 'must see' attractions. (source notes) (Nonfiction. 10-13)"
An account of how the "hundred-year hope" for a National Museum of African American History and Culture came to fruition, with glimpses of the new institution's treasures. Read full book review >
THIS KID CAN FLY by Aaron Philip
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"Philip's simple, chatty account of both physical and societal challenges—and the 'angels' without whom he couldn't have risen to them so highly—will motivate readers with and without disabilities to support accessibility and inclusion. (Memoir. 8-12)"
The author of the Aaronverse Tumblr explains how he emphasizes ability, not disability: with help. Read full book review >
BEAUTIFUL MOON by Tonya Bolden
Released: Nov. 4, 2014

"Prayer may seem like something from ancient history for many young children; this beautiful book brings prayer to the modern world and hauntingly shows just how needed it is. (Picture book/religious. 4-8)"
A young boy's prayer brings home to readers all the people who need prayers in our world. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 7, 2014

"Bolden admirably tells a complex story while modeling outstanding research strategy, as her insightful author's note attests. (Nonfiction 10-14)"
In 1914, 12-year-old Oklahoman Sarah Rector attracted attention when it became known that the oil found on land allotted to her by treaty was worth a fortune. Read full book review >
12 DAYS OF NEW YORK by Tonya Bolden
Released: March 12, 2013

"Skip this tour. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A class trip to the Big Apple is played out as a variation of the "Twelve Days of Christmas." Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2013

"A convincing, handsomely produced argument that the proclamation, for all its acknowledged limitations, remains a watershed document. (endnotes, bibliography, extensive timeline) (Nonfiction. 12-15)"
A vivid depiction of the issues and tensions surrounding abolition and the development of Lincoln's responses to them as the United States plunged into the Civil War. Read full book review >
FINDING FAMILY by Tonya Bolden
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

"Each carefully posed subject is a fascinating enigma. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
Set in 1905 Charleston, W.Va., this richly lyrical and historically persuasive coming-of-age story explores the ties that bind, break and renew an affluent African-American family. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 12, 2010

"The revealing, insightful text is richly illustrated with photographs and archival images and punctuated by contemporary quotes. (chronology, glossary, source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)"
Explaining the complexities of Roosevelt's New Deal initiatives and their economic impacts is a daunting task for any writer, but Bolden rises to the occasion with an accessible and thoughtful text that clearly and succinctly explains the agencies and programs that came out of FDR's first 100 days in office. Read full book review >
UP CLOSE: W.E.B. DU BOIS by Tonya Bolden
Released: Dec. 1, 2008

"Though not one of the stronger entries in this series, it's still a good introduction to an important American figure. (source notes, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12 & up)"
W.E.B. Du Bois, one of the leading intellectuals of the 20th century, often declared "the colour line" its defining problem, and his writing remains relevant today. Read full book review >
SAY A LITTLE PRAYER by Dionne Warwick
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"Includes a CD of Warwick reading the text and singing 'Jesus Loves Me,' Little D's first publicly performed number. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A little girl discovers her true passion in this inspirational picture book based on singer Warwick's own beginnings. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2008

"Published in conjunction with an exhibition at Chicago's Field Museum. (source list) (Biography. 10-12)"
Bolden follows up MLK: Journey of a King (2007) with this shorter but equally lucid profile of the second-most-well-known African-American. Read full book review >
Released: May 8, 2007

In the argot of the times, Bolden offers a fascinating study of the girl bands of the Swing era during WWII. Read full book review >
M.L.K. by Tonya Bolden
Released: Feb. 1, 2007

"Still, an important, comprehensive look at a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement. (author's note, timeline, source notes, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-14)"
Adding to the growing body of literature about Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, Bolden attempts to portray the passion of a man for a cause when he could have lived a quiet life untouched by the troubles that would come his way. Read full book review >
CAUSE by Tonya Bolden
Released: Dec. 27, 2005

"Despite the shortcomings, still the best resource to date for young readers. (maps, illustration credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
The post-Civil War period known as Reconstruction was a revolutionary time of enormous possibility, but it ultimately was an "unfinished revolution" in racial democracy, leaving it to future generations to hash out what democracy really meant. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2005

"Although Maritcha comes across as something of a stuffed shirt—her prose is distinctly Victorian in flavor—her story provides a valuable glimpse into a history largely forgotten. (notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-12)"
A serious-looking 12-year-old girl looks out at the reader from a sepia-toned cover photograph: The "American Girl" of the subtitle was African-American, a member of New York's black middle class. Read full book review >
THE CHAMP by Tonya Bolden
Released: Dec. 28, 2004

"A fascinating introduction to an intriguing person. (notes, source list) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)"
Muhammad Ali remains an interesting, colorful persona long after his amazing boxing career. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2004

"A fascinating and unique collection. (Collected biography. 7+)"
In an informative introduction, the editor, artist, and author discuss the process used to select the inspirational African-Americans for these "studies in true grit." Read full book review >
ROCK OF AGES by Tonya Bolden
Released: Dec. 26, 2001

"Although somewhat ungainly at times, it's ultimately moving. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A poetic tribute to the sustaining power of the Black Church. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2001

"Valuable and impressive. (Nonfiction. 8+)"
Bolden (Rock of Ages, 2001, etc.) presents an overview about what life has been like through the years for African-American children in the US. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1998

"Bolden mentions in the introduction her wish that a book similar to this one had existed when she was 12; of the few available now, Mavis Jukes's It's a Girl Thing (1996, not reviewed) and Judith Harlan's Girl Talk (1997) offer more. (Anthology. 11-14)"
paper 0-517-70936-8 A terribly earnest collection of advice that ranges from preachy to peachy. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

"She includes capsule biographies of 21 other African-American women, a selected bibliography, and a detailed index. (b&w photos) (Biography. 10-14)"
Bolden's Book of African-American Women (1996, not reviewed) covered 150 ``crusaders, creators, and uplifters''; this one presents a handful of such stalwarts in chapter-length biographies: Ellen Craft, Charlotte Forten GrimkÇ, Mary Fields, Ida B. Wells, and Mary McLeod Bethune from earlier generations; Clara Hale, Leontyne Price, Toni Morrison, Mae C. Jemison, and Jackie Joyner- Kersee of the present century. Read full book review >
JUST FAMILY by Tonya Bolden
Released: Feb. 1, 1996

"These problems mar a novel that has stirring moments but remains unconvincing. (Fiction. 9+)"
Ten-year-old Beryl lives with her parents and her older sister, Randy, in East Harlem in the 1960s. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"Notes on the authors. (Short stories. 11+)"
Seventeen stories, of particular interest because of the high quality of their writing as well as for their diverse insights into growing up black. Read full book review >
MAMA, I WANT TO SING by Vy Higginsen
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"There is no strife here; Doris simply sets her mind to the job, knows an opportunity when she sees it, and sails over the top—a dreamy, full-of-hope heroine who appeals as much for her tenacity as for her starry-eyed belief in her own worth. (Fiction. 11+)"
From the time she's 11, Doris sings with the adult choir at Mount Calvary Full Gospel Church, where her father is pastor. Read full book review >