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Children's Literature Collection


Evelyn Coleman came to the arena of children's books after careers in a number of different professions. She has worked as a journalist, psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, a stress-management trainer, a hosiery mill worker, and a makeup artist. After retiring from the mental health field, a car accident turned Coleman's life around. During her convalescence, she decided to fulfill a lifelong ambition of becoming a writer. Her efforts were rewarded with a $5000 North Carolina Fiction Fellowship, the first ever given to an African American.

Her earliest writings were for adults, but, in 1994, her first children's book was published. The Foot Warmer and the Crow tells the story of the slave Hezekiah, small in stature but a giant in his wit and intelligence. A year later, The Glass Bottle Tree was published. The title refers to the African American custom of putting colorful bottles on a tree's limbs to contain the spirits of the family's ancestors. It is a story of strength, faith, and commitment.

White Socks Only (1996) was inspired by events in Coleman's childhood when she realized that there were things she could not do and places she could not go simply because of the color of her skin. This title appeared on the spring 1996 American Bookseller's "Pick of the Lists" and was on the Smithsonian Magazine's list of outstanding books for 1996. The story has been adapted to film and will soon be released by Phoenix Films and Video Production.

The subject of Coleman's latest book is Oseola McCarty, a woman whose life is now permanently intertwined with The University of Southern Mississippi. Miss McCarty is a retired laundress who became internationally known after she donated her hard-earned life savings of $150,000 to the University to fund scholarships for needy students. The Riches of Oseola McCarty is a plainspoken chapter book that introduces an uncommon heroine whose values and lifestyle can serve as an inspiration to today's children.

Coleman continues to write fiction and nonfiction for the adult reader as well. Her work has appeared in Essence, Black Enterprise, Southern Exposure, the Quarterly Black Review, and numerous newpapers including the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. She has recently published What a Woman's Gotta Do, a thriller featuring African American journalist Patricia Conley. This gutsy heroine is a combination of the many strong African American women Coleman has known.

Coleman's new projects include a second thriller with a new protagonist, to be followed by a third thriller once again starring Patricia Conley. She'll also continue to write children's books, as well.


The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
Box 5148
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
(601) 266-4349
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