Eloise Greenfield (1929-2021)

The inimitable and beloved poet, author, and memoirist Eloise Greenfield has passed away at the age of 92. Teaching for Change offers a beautiful remembrance. See also her 2018 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award speech; "Lift Every Voice: Words and Music" from the May/June 2019 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: CSK Book Awards at 50; and more by and about this "Great Lady" of children's literature, author of Honey, I Love and Other PoemsAfrica DreamChild Times: A Three Generation Memoir; and many others.   

Her work inspired continuing later generations of writers for children. In a wonderful conversation with Eloise Greenfield (moderated by Deborah Taylor), Jason Reynolds spoke about recognizing the power of the brevity of Ms. Greenfield's poetry in Honey, I Love. In a Twitter post Carole Boston Weatherford also noted how much she loves and learned from Greenfield's "lyrics." 

But Eloise Greenfield's true gift was to her child readers. When asked why she got into writing for children, she said, "My goal is to make children know how much they are loved."

Deborah Taylor was chair of the CSK/Virginia Hamilton Award jury when Ms. Greenfield was chosen. She wrote on Facebook: "I was blessed to serve as Chair of the Coretta Scott King Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award Committee when we honored Eloise Greenfield. That time of talking to her and conferring the award was so amazing. One of my most endearing memories is watching Jason Reynolds kneel down next to her chair and tell her what she meant to him. She demonstrated the best in literature and the best in humanity. Literature for young people is better because of her work. 'Still got it!' The love she shared lifts my heavy heart."

We echo Carole Boston Weatherford's tribute: "Rest in poetry, beautiful Black bard."

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Barbara Spears

How many times did I recommend to parents, to purchase Honey I Love by Eloise Greenfield while doing a storytelling gig? She was priceless. They say, Life is Eternal, and so she lives on in the hearts of each of us. Barbara Spears, Storyteller, Former Manager of the Glenarden, Spauldings and BeltsvilleBranch Libraries, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, Prince George's County MD.

Posted : Aug 22, 2021 08:13



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