Following is a brief account of the highest of the highlights of her remarkable career. Listed dates note the years of publication rather than when a prize was awarded.

1967  Virginia’s first book, Zeely, is published. It is named an ALA Notable Book and wins the Nancy Bloch Award.

1968  The House of Dies Drear wins the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Mystery.

1971  The Planet of Junior Brown is named Newbery Honor Book and wins the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award.

1974  M.C. Higgins the Great wins the Newbery Medal, making Virginia the first African American author ever to receive this honor. In addition, the book wins the National Book Award, Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, the Peace Prize of Germany, New York Times Outstanding Children’s Book of the Year and Hans Christian Andersen Honor Book, among others. This marked the first time a book had won the grand slam of Newbery Medal, National Book Award and Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. This feat has rarely been repeated.

1979  Virginia is a delegate to the Second International Conference of Writers for Children and Youth in Moscow

1982  Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush wins the Coretta Scott King Award, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, IBBY Honor Book Citation, Newbery Honor Book, and the American Book Award, among others.

1984  The Virginia Hamilton Lecture in Children’s Literature is established at Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio. The Virginia Hamilton Lecture has grown into the Virginia Hamilton Conference and is the longest running event in the United States to focus solely on multicultural literature for children and young adults. (

1985  The People Could Fly wins the Coretta Scott King Award, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year Award, Booklist’s Editor’s Choice and New York Times Best Illustrated Book, among others.

1987  Virginia and Arnold are named distinguished visiting professors at Queens College in New York.