BIOGRAPHY OF HARRIETTE GILLEM ROBINET
Harriette Gillem Robinet was born and raised in Washington,
D. C., graduated from the College of New Rochelle, in New
Rochelle, New York, and finished graduate degrees in microbiology from Catholic
University of America in Washington, D.C.
She spent her childhood summers in Arlington, Virginia
where her mother’s father had been a slave until he was thirteen under General
Robert E. Lee. Her father’s people had been
slaves in Maryland.
She is a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers
and Illustrators; Society of Midland Authors; Sisters in Crime;
Mystery Writers of America; and the National Writers Union.
Her first two books, JAY AND THE MARIGOLD and
RIDE THE RED CYCLE, are about disabled children. All the
others are historical fiction. She portrays likeable children and
adults, with their needs and struggles, against a pivotal time in
She feels that unless we know our history, we have no
perspective on life today. How can we know where we’re
going, or appreciate where we are today, if we don’t know
where we’re coming from? She also discovers that African
Americans have been left out of history. Their stories have
been deliberately changed or ignored.
She tries to have both European and African American
characters in stories, to have no villains but the systems, and
to thrill as well as uplift her readers.
RIDE THE RED CYCLE is in 4th and 5th grade readers;
four books were named Notable Books in Social Studies;
CHILDREN OF THE FIRE won the 1991 Award from
Friends of American Writers; WASHINGTON CITY IS
BURNING won the 1997 Carl Sandburg Award; THE
TWINS, THE PIRATES, AND THE BATTLE OF NEW
ORLEANS won the 1998 Midland Authors Award; and
FORTY ACRES AND MAYBE A MULE won the 1999
Scott O’Dell Award for historical fiction for children.
WALKING TO THE BUS RIDER BLUES was nominated
for an Edgar Award by Mystery Writers of America;
was a Jane Addams Award Honor book in 2001;
a Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award finalist for 2003;
a Willian Allen White Book Award finalist for 2003 in Kansas;
a 2003-2004 Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List finalist.
Harriette loves reading--especially mysteries, knits by
winter, crochets by summer, and loves pets, both dogs and
cats. She enjoys camping with her family.
Today Harriette Gillem Robinet lives in Oak Park,
Illinois with her husband, McLouis Robinet. They have
six adult children and four grandchildren.
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