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February 2020 Notable Author: Alice McGill, Children's Storyteller

Alice McGill, Children's Literature

"For me, writing is an expedition through life experiences.”  –  Alice McGill

Alice McGill was born in the small rural town of Scotland Neck, North Carolina.  She attended a four-room school with her seven brothers and sisters. Her parents were avid readers and storytellers, her father being the best. He read aloud from the News and Observer Newspaper and Time Magazine or listened to his children read from books borrowed from school. In the fourth grade, McGill read her first thick book. It was The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. The characters, Polly, Ben, Davie, and Phronsie remained her favorite book characters for years. As a result, she developed an interest in storytelling, poetry, and oratorical contests. McGill won a four-year scholarship to Elizabeth City State Teacher's College.  She earned a degree in elementary education and taught school for almost eighteen years before becoming a full-time, traveling storyteller. One of her most well-known storytelling performances re-creates the life of Sojourner Truth; the story is based on Truth’s own writings on abolition, women’s rights, motherhood and other topics. Travelling has taken her to 41states, Canada, the West Indies, and South Africa.

In 1999, McGill turned Molly Bannaky, one of her favorite stories, into a book. Molly Bannaky became an American Library Association Notable Book as well as the winner of the 2000 IRA Picture Book Award and the 2000 Jane Addams Award. Its success encouraged her to write down other stories for children and their parents to enjoy. Her books usually have African American protagonists or deal with African American issues.

McGill is married and lives in Columbia, Maryland.

Genre: Children's Literature

Children's literature or juvenile literature includes stories, books, magazines, and poems made for children. Modern children's literature is classified in two different ways: genre or the intended age of the reader. McGill writes for ages 7-12.

A reading list includes: The Griots' Cookbook, Molly Bannaky, Miles' Song, Sure As Sunrise: Stories of Bruh Rabbit and his Walkin' Talkin' Friends, In the Hollow of Your Hand: Slave Lullabies, and Here We Go Round.  Audio Recordings: Flying Africans (Earwig Music)

Writer's Prompt - Fun With Words

MWA invites you to have fun writing writing children’s literature for ages 7-12 using up to 100 words.  Select a protagonist that mirrors your race or cultural group and write about an issue involving your race or cultural group. Have fun and send us your result.

Submit by the 25th of the month and receive an MWA Fun With Words Submission Certificate.  Selected submissions may be published at the following month.

Submit Your FUN WITH WORDS Prompt


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