Laban Carrick Hill's newest book When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Origins of Hip Hop is illustrated by the amazing Theodore Taylor III. Publishers Weekly writes: :Here’s a twofer: an expert biography of a hip hop and rap pioneer, and a not-to-be-missed picture-book debut by Taylor."
Hill's previous Dave the Potter: Artist, Slave, Poet is a picture book poem illustrated by Brian Collier and won a 2011 Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Illustration Award. His award-winning America Dreaming: How Youth Changed America in the 60's (also with Little, Brown & Co.) won the 2007 Parenting Publications Gold Award. The New York Times Book Review wrote, "Excellent." Howard Zinn praised the cultural history as "a phenomenal piece of work, extensively researched and visually stimulating; an essential resource for children and adults of all ages." America Dreaming examines the legacy of the sixties, and how the events that took place then inform our lives today.
Hill is the author of more than 25 books, including the 2004 National Book Award Finalist Harlem Stomp!: A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance, a book he researched for more than a decade. He was drawn to this era because the Harlem Renaissance seemed to embody Ralph Ellison’s sense that America could not be America without African Americans. Hill has also taught writing at the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College, Columbia University, Baruch College, and St. Michael’s College in Vermont. In the fall of 2008, he was a visiting professor of creative writing at the University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana. He is also the co-founder and former co-director of the Writers Project of Ghana, which was formed to promote literacy and literary culture and to publish literary books in Ghana.
In the fall of 2013, his picturebook biography When the Beat Was Born of DJ Kool Herc, the founder of Hip Hop, will be published by Roaring Brook Press and illustrated by Theodor3. His most recent novel is A Brush with Napoleon, published by Watson Guptil in 2007. His young adult novel, Casa Azul, based on the Frida Kahlo painting Self Portrait (with Monkey and Hummingbird) was selected as a New York Public Library 2006 Book for the Teen Age. His poems have been included in the Contemporary Poetry of New England anthology and in numerous literary magazines, including Tar River Review and Denver Quarterly. He was one of the founding editors of American Letters & Commentary. His Reader’s Companion to Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections (SparkNotes) appeared in print in 2003. He has also written critical biographies for Scribners American Writers and British Writers series on J. M. Coetzee, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Jane Kenyon.
--George C. Wolfe, writer, director, and producer of the Public Theater, NYC
--from the Introduction
4. Middle Grade Series