Virginia’s Books

1982. Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush. New York: Philomel. A Newbery Honor Book, winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and the Coretta Scott King Award. This novel, which confronts issues of child abuse, single-parent families, and the death of a young person, turns on the appearances and disappearances of a ghost, Brother Rush.

1983. The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl. New York: Harper & Row. A fantasy — part myth, part legend and folklore. When Pretty Pearl comes down from the God home of Mount Kenya to live among real people, she discovers the diaspora of the slave trade and forgets all her brother god’s warnings about being true to the goddess within her.

1983. Willie Bea and the Time the Martians Landed. New York: Greenwillow. This old-fashioned, humorous novel tells about the night in October 1938, when Orson Welles broadcasted his famous radio adaptation of H. G. Wells’s tale of a Martian invasion of Earth and scared legions of Americans who believed it was really happening.

1984. A Little Love. New York: Philomel. Sheema Hadley searches for the father she never knew, who never wanted to know her, and ultimately finds new strength in herself.

1985. Junius Over Far. New York: Harper & Row. A cross-cultural adventure set in America and the Caribbean.

1985. The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales. Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. New York: Knopf. Distributed by Random House. Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award. These twenty-four selections present a significant body of black folklore and bring us closer to the hearts and minds of the people who first told them and passed them on to us.

1987. The Mystery of Drear House. New York: Greenwillow. The conclusion of the Dies Drear Chronicle.

1987. A White Romance. New York: Philomel. A timely coming-of-age novel, with sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and a none-too-subtle biracial theme.

1988. Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave. New York: Knopf. Winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. A historical reconstruction of a poor man’s life, with a backdrop of the Civil War, in which this common man is the center and point of his own struggle.

1988. In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World. Illustrated by Barry Moser. San Diego: Harcourt. A Newbery Honor Book. Twenty-five stories from cultures around the globe, explaining the creation of people and the universe.

1989. The Bells of Christmas. Illustrated by Lambert Davis. San Diego: Harcourt. An ALA Notable Book. A traditional story about a prosperous African American family in Ohio and their celebration of Christmas.

1990. Cousins. New York: Philomel. Three cousins set out on an emotional journey over a summer, in which there is rivalry, deep hostility, and a death.

1990. The Dark Way: Stories from the Spirit World. Illustrated by Lambert Davis. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. An illustrated collection of compelling multiethnic and multicultural scare tales from around the world.

1991. The All Jahdu Storybook. Illustrated by Barry Moser. San Diego: Harcourt. An illustrated revision of Hamilton’s three Jahdu books, all rolled into one.

1992. Drylongso. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. San Diego: Harcourt. A family struggling against forces of nature — weather, climate, and a huge dust storm — meets a stranger named Drylongso, who, with his divining rod, finds a life-giving underground spring.