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Sharon Mills Draper, born in Cleveland, Ohio, has been writing and teaching for over twenty years. She has always encouraged in her students a love of learning through literature and a respect for excellence in writing.
Her literary recognition began when, as a challenge from one of her students, she entered and won first prize in the 1991 Ebony magazine Literary Contest, for which she was awarded $5,000 and the publication of her short story "One Small Torch." That story is now chapter one of Forged by Fire. She is also the author of the Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs series of books for middle readers. Her first novel for Atheneum, Tears of a Tiger, was the recipient of the first Coretta Scott King Genesis Award, and her second novel, Forged by Fire, won the Coretta Scott King Award for 1997.
When asked to describe herself, Mrs. Draper replies: "I'm a dreamer, a creator, a visionary. I approach the world with the eyes of an artist, the ears of a musician, and the soul of a poet. I see rainbows where others see only rain, and possibilities when others see only problems. I love to write; words flow easily from my fingertips, and my heart beats rapidly with excitement as an idea becomes a reality on the paper in front of me. I use all of these elements to encourage my students as well as myself. I'm a learner and a seeker of knowledge, and I take my students along on my journey. I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer."
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