Virginia Hamilton

1934 (1936?) -2002

(1995 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award)


The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award was first given to its namesake in 1954 by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. The award, a bronze medal, honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. Between 1960 and 1980, the Wilder Award was given every five years. From 1980 to 2001, it was awarded every three years. Beginning in 2001, it has been awarded every two years. The award information was retrieved from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award website. The call numbers for the books owned by the Kathryn A. Martin Library are provided after the citation.


Hamilton, Virginia. (1988). Anthony Burns : the defeat and triumph of a fugitive slave. New York : A.A. Knopf. 921 B9672h

A biography of the slave who escaped to Boston in 1854, was arrested at the instigation of his owner, and whose trial caused a furor between abolitionists and those determined to enforce the Fugitive Slave Acts.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1976). Arilla Sun Down. New York : Greenwillow Books. INTR-FIC H2218AR

Young girl, half black and half Indian, lives in a small town where her life revolves around family, school, and friends.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1989). The bells of Christmas. (Illustrated by Lambert Davis). San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. INTR-FIC H2218BE

Twelve-year-old Jason describes the wonderful Christmas of 1890 that he and his family celebrate in the their home in Springfield, Ohio.

Hamilton, Virginia. (2003). Bruh Rabbit and the tar baby girl. (Paintings by James Ransome). New York : The Blue Sky Press. 398.2 H2215b

In this retelling, using Gullah speech, of a familiar story the wily Brer Rabbit outwits Brer Fox who has set out to trap him.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1990). Cousins. New York : Philomel Books. INTR-FIC H2218CO

Concerned that her grandmother may die, Cammy is unprepared for the accidental death of another relative.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1980). Dustland. New York : Greenwillow Books. INTR-FIC H2218DU

Four children, all possessing extraordinary mental powers, are projected far into the future to a bleak region called Dustland.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1981). The gathering. New York : Greenwillow Books. INTR-FIC H2218GA

Justice and her brothers, the first of a new race with extraordinary powers, return to Dustland in order to destroy the force that retards the growth of their advanced civilization.

Hamilton, Virginia. (2000). The girl who spun gold. (Illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon). New York : The Blue Sky Press. 398.2 H221g

In this West Indian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story, Lit’mahn spins thread into gold cloth for the king’s new bride.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1995). Her stories : African American folktales, fairy tales, and true tales. (Illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon). New York : Blue Sky Press. 398.2 H2215h

Her animal tales: Little girl and Buh Rabby -- Lena and big one tiger -- Marie and redfish -- Miz Hattie gets some company -- Her fairy tales: Catskinella -- Good Blanche, bad Rose, and the talking eggs -- Mary Belle and the mermaid -- Mom Bett and the little ones a-glowing -- Her supernatural: Who you! -- Macie and Boo Hag -- Lonna and cat woman -- Malindy and little devil -- Her folkways and legends: Woman and man started even -- Luella and the tame parrot -- The mer-woman out of the sea -- Annie Christmas -- Her true tales: Millie Evans: plantation times -- Lettice Boyer: from way back -- Mary Lou Thorton: my family.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1968). The house of Dies Drear. (Illustrated by Eros Keith). New York : Macmillan. INTR-FIC H2218ho

A black family of five moves into an enormous house once used as a hiding place for runaway slaves. Mysterious sounds and events as well as the discovery of secret passageways make the family believe they are in grave danger.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1988). In the beginning : creation stories from around the world. (Illustrated by Barry Moser). San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 291.2 H221i

An illustrated collection of twenty-five myths from various parts of the world explaining the creation of the world.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1985). Junius over far. New York, N.Y. : Harper & Row. INTR-FIC H2218JT

After his grandfather leaves his family and returns to a dangerous situation on his home island in the Caribbean, fourteen-year-old Junius decides to follow him in search of his lost heritage.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1978). Justice and her brothers. New York : Greenwillow Books. INTR-FIC H2218JU

An 11-year-old and her older twin brothers struggle to understand their supersensory powers.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1984). A little love. New York : Philomel Books. INTR-FIC H2218LI

Though she has been raised lovingly by her grandparents, a black teenager goes in search of her father.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1974). M. C. Higgins, the great. New York : Macmillan. INTR-FIC H2218M

As a slag heap, the result of strip mining, creeps closer to his house in the Ohio hills, fifteen-year-old M. C. is torn between trying to get his family away and fighting for the home they love.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1998). The magical adventures of Pretty Pearl. New York : Harper Trophy. INTR-FIC H2218MA

Pretty Pearl, a spirited young African god child eager to show off her powers, travels to the New World where, disguised as a human, she lives among a band of free blacks who have created their own separate world deep inside a vast forest.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1993). Many thousand gone: African Americans from slavery to freedom. (Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon). New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House. 973.7 H221M

Recounts the journey of Black slaves to freedom via the underground railroad, an extended group of people who helped fugitive slaves in many ways.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1985). The people could fly : American Black folktales. (Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon). New York : Knopf. 398.2 H2215pe

Retold Afro-American folktales of animals, fantasy, the supernatural, and desire for freedom, born of the sorrow of the slaves, but passed on in hope.

Hamilton, Virginia. (2004). The people could fly : the picture book. (Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon). New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House. 398.2 H2215peo

In this retelling of a folktale, a group of slaves, unable to bear their sadness and starvation any longer, calls upon the African magic that allows them to fly away.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1993). Plain City. New York : Blue Sky Press. INTR-FIC H2218PL

Twelve-year-old Buhlaire, a "mixed" child who feels out of place in her community, struggles to unearth her past and her family history as she gradually discovers more and more about her long-missing father.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1971). The planet of Junior Brown. New York : Macmillan. INTR-FIC H2218PLN

Already a leader in New York’s underground world of homeless children, Buddy Clark takes on the responsibility of protecting the overweight, emotionally disturbed friend with whom he has been playing hooky from eighth grade all semester.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1982). Sweet whispers, Brother Rush. New York, N.Y. : Philomel Books. INTR-FIC H2218SW

Fourteen-year-old Tree, resentful of her working mother who leaves her in charge of a retarded brother, encounters the ghost of her dead uncle and comes to a deeper understanding of her family’s problems.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1973). Time-ago lost : more tales of Jahdu. (Illustrated by Ray Prather). New York : Macmillan. INTR-FIC H2218TH

When Mama Luka, Lee Edward’s baby-sitter, learns she must move, she reaches into the air to "catch" a Jahdu story. Lee Edward learns that things must change but he will still be able to visit Mama Luka and with her will be Jahdu.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1969). The time-ago tales of Jahdu. (Illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian). New York : Macmillan. INTR-FIC H2218TI

Mama Luka of Harlem had told Lee Edward many stories about Jahdu, including a story with a strong taste, a heavy story, and a story full of mischief, but not until the cool and fresh story does Jahdu assume even a temporary identity.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1972). W. E. B. Du Bois : a biography. New York : T. Y. Crowell. 921 D8163h

This American Negro leader, author, and sociologist spent his life fighting for the rights of blacks everywhere.

Hamilton, Virginia. (2004). Wee Winnie Witch’s Skinny : an original African American scare tale. New York : Blue Sky Press. PRIM-FIC H2217w

James Lee and Uncle Big Anthony become victims of Wee Winnie Witch, who takes them on a ride up into the sky, but Mama Granny saves them.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1996). When birds could talk & bats could sing : the adventures of Bruh Sparrow, Sis Wren, and their friends. (Illustrated by Barry Moser). New York : Blue Sky Press. 398.24 H222w

A collection of stories, featuring sparrows, jays, buzzards, and bats, based on those African American tales originally written down by Martha Young on her father’s plantation in Alabama after the Civil War.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1983). Willie Bea and the time the Martians landed. New York : Greenwillow Books. INTR-FIC H2218WI

In October of 1938, on their farm homestead in Ohio, a black family is caught up in the fear generated by the Orson Welles "Martians have landed" broadcast.

Hamilton, Virginia. (1967). Zeely. (Illustrated by Symeon Shimin). New York : Macmillan. INTR-FIC H2218Z

Geeder’s summer at her uncle’s farm is made special because of her friendship with a very tall, composed woman who raises hogs and who closely resembles the magazine photograph of a Watutsi queen.

Author Information

Mikkelsen, Nina. (1994). Virginia Hamilton. New York : Twayne Publishers ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International. PS3558.A444 Z78 1994

Hamilton, Virginia (Esther) 1936-2002. (2003). In Something about the author (Vol. 132, pp. 84). Detroit: Gale. Ref PN 451 .S6 & Online V. 1 - 189, 1971- 2009

Hamilton, Virginia (Esther) 1936- . (2001). In Something about the author (Vol. 123, pp. 56-61). Detroit: Gale. Ref PN 451 .S6 & Online V. 1 - 189, 1971- 2009

Hamilton, Virginia (Esther) 1936- . (1995). In Something about the author (Vol. 79, pp. 89-96). Detroit: Gale. Ref PN 451 .S6 & Online V. 1 - 189, 1971- 2009

Hamilton, Virginia (Esther) 1936- . (1989). In Something about the author (Vol. 56, pp. 60-70). Detroit: Gale. Ref PN 451 .S6 & Online V. 1 - 189, 1971- 2009

Hamilton, Virginia 1936- . (1971). In Something about the author (Vol. 4, pp. 97-99). Detroit: Gale. Ref PN 451 .S6 & Online V. 1 - 189, 1971- 2009

Virginia Hamilton Website

For more information, contact:
Tom Ambrosi, Reference Librarian
Phone: 218-726-7861
Fax: 218-726-7481
416 Library Drive
Duluth, MN 55812

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Revised and updated 12/25/15


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