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Eloise Greenfield was born in Parmele, North Carolina, on May 17, 1929. The second oldest of five children, she moved, as an infant, with her family to Washington, D.C. She studied piano as a child and teenager. She loved music, movies, and books.

As a young wife and mother

in her early twenties, while working as a clerk-typist at the U. S. Patent Office, Ms. Greenfield began a search for satisfying work. She found it in writing.


After several years of study and rejections from publishers, Ms. Greenfield

had her first poem published in the Hartford Times in 1962. Her first book was published in 1972. She is now the author of more than 45 books for children -- poetry, biography, picture books and older fiction. She says her mission is twofold: (1) to contribute to the development of a large body of African American literature for children and (2) to continue to fill her life with the joy of creating with words.


Ms. Greenfield is the recipient of the 2018 Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. When the award was announced, Deborah D. Taylor, the award committee chair said, “Eloise Greenfield is a trailblazer whose extraordinary books of poetry and prose have influenced many and continue to resonate with children today. Her rich body of work inspires and enriches readers.” Ms. Greenfield has received many other honors, including the Coretta Scott King Award for Africa Dream. The Great Migration: Journey to the North was a Coretta Scott King Author Honor and also an ALA 2012 Notable Children's Book. She received the Carter G. Woodson Award for Rosa Parks. For Honey, I Love and Other Love Poems, she received the 1990 Recognition of Merit Award, presented by the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books. She received the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Award for Childtimes: A Three-Generation Memoir, written with her mother, Lessie Jones Little. Furthermore, In the Land of Words was named a 2005 Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts (Children's Literature Assembly/NCTE). When the Horses Ride By and The Friendly Four  were chosen for the CCBC's (Cooperative Children's Book Center's) 2007 Choices. The Friendly Four was further included on the 2007 Texas 2x2 Reading List for ages 2 to grades 2. On February 23, 2013, she was one of twenty African American women who received the Living Legacy Award from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), an organization founded by Carter G. Woodson.

She has received the Hope S. Dean Award from the Foundation for Children's Literature; the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, given for a body of work to a living American poet; the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award; the Hurston/Wright Foundation's North Star Award for lifetime achievement; and a lifetime achievement award from the Moonstone Celebration of Black Writing. In 1999, Ms Greenfield was inducted into the National Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent. For her body of work, she also received the 2007 Wheatley Book Award, sponsored by Quarterly Black Books Review as part of the Harlem Book Fair.  In 2008, Ms. Greenfield was selected for a Vanguard Spotlight by The Brown Bookshelf, who interviews a number of authors. Her interview appeared in February 2008 on There is also a beautifully designed poster of all the authors interviewed that can be downloaded from their website. Furthermore, excerpts from Childtimes: A Three-Generation Memoir are included in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Community Galleries, "Power of Place Exhibit."

Eloise Greenfield enjoys working with and for young people. Through her work, she wants to give them words that nourish the spirit -- "words to love, to grow on." She has said, "I love working with words. Sometimes they come almost as if by magic. Other times, I feel a kind of pain in struggling to find the right ones. But I keep struggling because I want to do my best and I want children to have the best."


Ms. Greenfield lives in Washington, D. C. She is the mother of a son and a daughter and the grandmother of four. You can see her on YouTube when she was honored at the Author's Pavilion at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Conference, and be sure to follow her on Twitter!