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Angela Johnson's career as an award-winning young adult novelist almost did not happen. Like so many would-be writers, she had decided to pursue a more financially stable career: teaching. But in the end, Johnson abandoned the familiar—and seemingly more secure—and became an author. Her first picture book, Tell Me a Story, Mama, conveyed Johnson's talent as a writer and left readers hoping that more books were forthcoming. And come they did. Her picture books were concise, poetic, and memorable. But some wondered, could she write compelling YA literature? Her first book for adolescents, Toning the Sweep, proved that indeed she could. Sparse, poetic language similar to that found in her picture books made its way into her YA novels, and it caused quite a stir amongst critics. Now, with over forty books to her credit—including board books, middle grade novels, and young adult literature—Angela Johnson, who refers to her writing as unschooled and undisciplined, has made a major contribution to the field. Of her writing, Johnson says, "For most of my life I was a passive participant in my writing. It was something that I did because I didn't have any choice. If I never got anything published, I would still write. I woke up: I wrote poetry. I went to sleep: I wrote poetry." The author who says, "I am learning as I go," has certainly proven that she is an exceptional writer. Being a three-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Author award, 2004 winner of the Michael L. Printz award, and a 2003 recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" grant, is only the beginning for this talented writer.
Part 1 Preface Part 2 Chronology Chapter 3 1. Discovering the Inner Voice Chapter 4 2. From Generation to Generation Chapter 5 3. "Short Takes" Chapter 6 4. Discovering Oneself Chapter 7 5. Discovering Change Chapter 8 6. Discovering Loss Chapter 9 7. Discovering Tradition Part 10 Selected Bibliography Part 11 Index Part 12 About the Author