Biography (you may reprint this in conference programs)
New York Times bestselling author Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2022 Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2020 ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature, the 2017 Children’s Literature Legacy Award, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the much-honored books Garvey’s Choice, ALA Notable book Southwest Sunrise, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, and five Coretta Scott King Author Honor books, Printz and Siebert Honor winner Ordinary Hazards, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor One Last Word, its companion Legacy:Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance, and NYT Bestseller Kamala Harris:Rooted in Justice. Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown, Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel, Bedtime for Sweet Creatures, and A Walk in the Woods, Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California.
Biography (a longer biography for research purposes)
Nikki Grimes does not consider herself a bona fide storyteller, but, as she told an audience at the Library of Congress, she is happy to own the title Poet. Born and raised in New York City, Nikki began composing verse at the age of six and has been writing ever since that time.
A bestselling author and a prolific artist, Nikki has written many award-winning books for children and young adults including the Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade; the Coretta Scott King Author Honor books Jazmin’s Notebook, Talkin’ About Bessie, Dark Sons, The Road to Paris, and Words with Wings; Horn Book Fanfare for Talkin’ About Bessie; ALA Notable books What is Goodbye? and Words with Wings; the popular Dyamonde Daniel chapter book series, and numerous picture books and novels including The New York Times bestseller Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope and, most recently, Garvey’s Choice, One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance, and A Walk in the Woods.
In addition to her work for children, Ms. Grimes has written articles for such magazines as Essence, Today’s Christian Woman, Book Links, and Image, Journal of Arts & Religion.
An accomplished and widely anthologized poet of both children’s and adult verse, Grimes has conducted poetry readings and lectures at international schools in Russia, China, Sweden and Tanzania, while short-term mission projects have taken her to such trouble spots as Haiti.
During the 1970s, Nikki coproduced and hosted The Kid’s Show on WBAI FM in New York. Later, during a six-year stint in Sweden, she hosted their radio program for immigrants, Grunslöst, and another for Swedish Educational Radio.
Photo credit: Aaron Lemen
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In 2005, Ms.Grimes was awarded the Golden Dolphin Award by the Southern California Children’s Book Association, recognizing her body of work.
Nikki has been honored with the NCTE Award for Poetry and the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award from Kent State University. In 2017, she was presented with the Children’s Literature Legacy Award for her “substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.” In 2020, Nikki was chosen to receive The ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to the field of adolescent literature. In 2021, she was pleased to be presented with the 2022 Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Downloadable Booklist in Alphabetical Order
- Downloadable Booklist in Chronological Order
- “Children’s Institute 2023: Nikki Grimes and Brian Pinkney Collaborate in A Walk in the Woods,” Antonia Saxon, Publishers Weekly, 19 May 2023
- “Black YA Authors You Should Read from Angie Thomas to Walter Dean Myers,” USA Today, 22 Apr 2021
- “Closing Out National Poetry Month with an Interview with Poet Nikki Grimes,” The Hub, YALSA / ALA, Apr 2021
- Renée LaTulippe and Lee Bennett Hopkins discuss Nikki’s career in their Spotlight on NCTE Poets, Episode 14.
- School Library Journal, “A Renaissance Woman,” Luann Toth, Feb 3, 2017
- Read more about the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.
Performing Artist / Fiber Artist / Jeweler / Jane-of-all-Trades
Crossing borders artistically as well as geographically, Nikki once sang on the stage of the Stockholm Philharmonic in Sweden (where magazines refer to her as a singer who also writes!), sang and danced her way down the east coast of China, and has published and exhibited her photography both here and abroad. In recent years, she’s extended herself into the world of fiber art, beaded jewelry, complex sculptural peyote beading, and handmade cards, created from recycled materials.
Based in SouthernCalifornia, her wearable-art jewelry has shown up on the necks, wrists, and earlobes of customers as far away as Utah, Iowa, Chicago, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and New YorkCity. At one time, her work was frequently featured in fine art fairs and bookstores. However, the author has little time to pursue her interest in visual and textile art these days. The work she produces now is strictly for friends, family, and the sheer joy of creating art.
Here’s a link to the Grimes Gallery.
Ms.Grimes lives in Corona, California.