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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.