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Eloise Greenfield (1929–2021), children’s author who depicted Black lives

by Linnea Crowther

Eloise Greenfield was a children’s author whose picture books told stories of Black lives and history.

Writing career

Greenfield published her first children’s book, “Bubbles,” in 1972, after years of rejections at a time when Black voices weren’t common in children’s literature. She went on to publish almost 50 children’s books, including prose, poetry, and biographies. Greenfield focused on positive and realistic stories of Black life, with her books including “Africa Dream” (1976), “Honey, I Love and Other Poems” (1978), “Grandmama’s Joy” (1980), and “Alaina and the Great Play” (2021). She was widely honored, and several of her books won Coretta Scott King Honors, including “Childtimes: A Three-Generation Memoir,” written with her mother.

Notable quote

“Our work is [continued] so that children can see themselves in books, see their beauty and intelligence, see the strengths they have inherited from a long line of predecessors, see their ability to overcome difficulties, challenges, pain, and find deep joy and laughter in books, in characters they recognize as themselves.” —from a 2016 speech accepting the Teaching for Change Education for Liberation Award


Tributes to Eloise Greenfield

Full obituary: The Washington Post

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