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, St. Michael’s College in Vermont, University of Colombo in Sri Lanka, and the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. 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. The Writers Project of Ghana has been supported by the U. S. State Department. In 2010, Hill went to the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka to teach writing on a Fulbright Fellowship. As well, the U.S. State Department has brought him to Egypt, the Philippines and Indonesia to lecture on American culture, African American history, hip hop, and writing.
Hill has written two young adult novels: A Brush with Napoleon, based on the life of the French Romantic painter David, and Casa Azul, based on the Frida Kahlo painting Self Portrait (with Monkey and Hummingbird). Casa Azul 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 Solstice Literary Magazine, Tar River Review and Denver Quarterly. He was one of the founding editors of American Letters & Commentary. He has also written critical biographies for Scribners American Writers and British Writers series on J. M. Coetzee, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Jane Kenyon. His articles have appeared in a variety of publications such as The New York Times, The Smithsonian, and Eating Well.
--George C. Wolfe, writer, director, and producer of the Public Theater, NYC
--from the Introduction
4. Middle Grade Series