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"Harking Back to Hargett Street"

   My newest essay "Harking Back to Hargett Street" recounts the genesis of my book Celeste's Harlem Renaissance and the historic African American downtown business district of Raleigh, NC, where so much of the book took place, in 1921. "Harking" was published in the anthology Twenty-Seven Views of Raleigh, published by Eno Publishers in 2013.

My Books

Don't Split the Pole: Tales of Down-Home Folk Wisdom

  Don't Split the Pole, originally published in 1997 by Delacorte Press (1999 pb), features seven lively, funny stories that I saw through the lenses of proverbs and sayings meaningful to me: You can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks; A Hard Head Makes a Soft Behind; Never Leave Your Pocketbook on the Floor; Don't Split the Pole; Big Things Come in Small Packages; What Goes Around Comes Around; and Slow and Steady Wins the Race. At the back of the book are some recommended readings on proverbs and sayings. Publisher: iUniverse, an Authors Guild Back-in-Print Edition (2014).

   See my post at the Brown Book Shelf (thanks, Kelly Starling Lyons!) at:

   See my interview with Tamera Will Wissinger at:

   See my interview with Venus Bradley at:

   See my Hamline University faculty post at:

   See my interview with Alice Osborn at:

Celeste's Harlem Renaissance
  When Celeste Lassiter Massey must travel from her Raleigh, NC home in 1921 to Harlem to live with her actress Aunt Valentina, she's not thrilled about leaving her friends and ailing father for New York's fast life during the Harlem Renaissance.   Will she ever see North Carolina again?
   Recipient of the 2007 North Carolina Book Award for Juvenile Literature sponsored by the North Carolina Chapter of University Women; an International Reading Association (IRA) 2008 Teacher's Choice award winner. Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2007).
   "... Celeste's wide-eyed observations, organic to her strong but somewhat sheltered character, pull readers into the thrills and fears of her rapidly expanding world." -- the Horn Book Magazine

The Minstrel's Melody
  After 13-year-old Orphelia Bruce of Calico Creek, MO and her strait-laced mother argue over Orphelia's passion for sassy music, Orphelia stows away in a minstrel show caravan on its way to perform at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. A Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies. Publisher: Windmill Books, an imprint of Rosen Publishing Co (2009). The Minstrel's Melody was originally published in the American Girl History Mysteries series (Pleasant Company 2001).

A Blessing in Disguise
  Life in itsy bitsy, dirt road, countrified, do-nothing Deacon's Neck, SC is boring to 12-year-old Zambia Brown. Living with strict Aunt Limo, dull Uncle Lamar, and dumb cousin Aretha is all church, chores, and chump change. Zambia would rather be a fly girl, hang out all night and shake her booty in a rap video. But most of all she yearns to live with her good-looking, smooth-talking, drug-dealing father Vernon "Snake" LaRange. It takes a shoot-out in Zambia's own neighborhood for her to learn what life with him would truly be all about. Publisher: Just Us Books, Inc. (1999). Originally published by Delacorte Publishers, 1995 (pb 1997).
   An American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists." Recommended by the Children's Defense Fund
   " ... a timely book that speaks to the subject of drugs and crime ... a valuable addition to most collectiions." -- School Library Journal

Front Porch Stories at the One-Room School
  In this sequel to Just an Overnight Guest Margie, Ethel and Daddy tell stories on the steps of an old one-room school in Nutbrush, MO. Publisher: Just Us Books, Inc. (2007). Originally published by Bantam/Skylark Books 1992.
   " ... will gain satisfied readers and listeners." -- School Library Journal
   " ... places particular emphasis on the importnce of the African American father as a positive role model ..." -- Chicago Defender
   an ABA "Pick of the Lists;" a North Carolina Children's Junior Book Award nominee; a Sequoyah Children's Book Award nominee; an Indiana Young Hoosier Chhildren's Book Award nominee; highlighted in Essence Magazine

Just an Overnight Guest
  Everything is fine in nine-year-old Margie Carson's life in Nutbrush, MO until four-year-old Ethel Hardisen comes along. Ethel throws rocks, fights, cusses -- and then moves right into Margie's bed! Publisher: Just Us Books, Inc. (1997). Originally published by Dial Press 1980.
   " ... Tate does a fine job .. " -- The New York Times
   Just an Overnight Guest was made into an award-winning television film by Phoenix BFA Film and Video (1983), Executive Producer Barbara Bryant, starring Richard Roundtree, Rosalind Cash, Fran Robinson, Tiffany Hill, and Elinor Donahue, and was shown on PBS's award winning Wonderworks Series and on Nickelodeon Children's Channel. See the trailer on YouTube. To order the film: wwwphoenixlearninggroupcom

Retold African Myths
  This collection of retold stories (illustrations by Don Tate II) features eighteen kingdoms on the continent of Africa. Each retold story has a pronounciation guide and extended activities. Publisher: Perfection Learning Corp. 1993.

African American Musicians
  This collection of biographical profiles of African American musicians over the last two hundred years will help young readers gain a more intimate understanding about these legendary artists' lives and the music they loved from their childhood neighborhoods and shared with the world. Publisher: John Wiley and Sons 2000.
-- "Recommended!" -- Parents Choice

The Secret of Gumbo Grove
  First in the Carolina Trilogy with Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.! and A Blessing in Disguise.
  Raisin Stackhouse loves history so much that she's willing to face punishment in order to know her family's and her hometown's hidden secrets in Gumbo Grove, SC. And what about Big Boy, who's out to beat up Raisin? Does Raisin stand a chance against this neighborhood bully?
  A Parents Choice Gold Seal Award winner; a California Young Reader Medal nominee; a Georgia Children's Book Award nominee; featured in USA Today and on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered;" available as an Audio Book from Recorded Books, Inc. Publisher: Random House; Skylark (pb 1988). First published by Franklin Watts 1987.
  "A warm, humorous, and wonderful story centered around an intellectually curious and spirited Black girl ... " -- Starred, School Library Journal

To Be Free
  This is for middle school boys who don't have time to read long books. To gain his freedom out of slavery on the eve of the Civil War, Abram runs away from his abusive master on the North Carolina coast and hides in the bottom of a ship headed for Philadelphia, determined to be free even after slavery agents set parts of the ship afire to "smoke" him out. Publisher: Steck-Vaughn Power Up! Reader Series 2004. To order: call 1-800-531-5015 and ask for it by its ISBN single copy number: 0-7398-7507-8.

Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!
  Mary Elouise Avery is a fourth-grader in Gumbo Grove, SC. Her best friend is Hattie Stackhouse, Raisin's younger sister. But Mary Elouise wants to be best friends with snooty, rich, blond-haired, blue-eye Brandy Howard. She'd never openly admit it, but Mary Elouise wants to be white. Read how she struggles with her private battle to improve her self esteem. Publisher: Random House; Skylark (pb 1992; Yearling 1997). Originally published by Franklin Watts 1990. Available as an Audio Book from Recorded Books, Inc.
  an NCSS-CBS Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies; a Child Study Children's Book Committee Children's Book of the year; a Maryland Black-eyed Susan Children's Book nominee; a South Carolina School Librarians Children's Book nominee; second in my Carolina Trilogy.
  "Tate's characters are three-dimensional and believable ... " -- Kirkus Reviews