Meet Sharon M. Draper - #WinterRead2021 Author Spotlight

Welcome to our #WinterRead2021 Author Spotlight Series! We’re thrilled to be featuring 8 incredibly talented authors from our 2021 sponsor Simon & Schuster as a part of our 4th Annual Winter Reading Challenge. This week, we’ve interviewed Sharon M. Draper!


From Simon & Schuster: “Sharon M. Draper is a New York Times bestselling author and recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens. She has received the Coretta Scott King Award for both Copper Sun and Forged by Fire, and was most recently awarded the Charlotte Huck Award for Stella by Starlight. Her novel Out of My Mind has won multiple awards and was a New York Times bestseller for over three years. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years and was named National Teacher of the Year.


Check out our interview with her below, and learn more about her work here! @sharonmdraper on all platforms. 



What are you currently reading?

Book of Longings by Alice Hoffman.


Where is your favorite place to read?

Comfy chair or in bed before I go to sleep.


What is your favorite thing you've written? Book or otherwise!

My memories on a site called Storyworth.  


What's your favorite book by someone other than yourself?

Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston by Valerie Boyd




What is your favorite word and why?

“Joy.”  Because I search for joy in my life daily.


What is the funniest typo you’ve written?

"Flutterby" instead of "Butterfly.” 


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? And/or how did you become a writer?

I entered a writing contest while I was still teaching. And I won first prize!  It was unleashing a fountain. I've continued to immerse myself in those cooling waters.


If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

Write what is true for you. Write with honesty and dignity. And editing is NOT spell check! Editing is deep diving for the essence of what you have written.


What is your favorite thing about winter?

The first snowfall of the year when everything is crystalline and pure.



What does "Books Like Us" mean to you?

Books should reflect the reader. When I was growing up, there were no fiction books for kids who looked like me. I read everything in the library anyway. I'm glad that more books exist now so that every reader can be reflected and illuminated in the text.


Any additional information or fun facts?

I just moved from Ohio to Florida! No more winter snows! And I'm working on two new books. This has been fun. Thanks for doing this. I hope it helps more young people connect to books.

Stay tuned for future Simon & Schuster author spotlights throughout #WinterRead2021, and encourage your community to keep reading!

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