Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Harriette Gillem Robinet  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Young Adult; Children; Children;

Born: July 14, 1931 in Washington, D.C.

-- Website --
-- Harriette Gillem Robinet on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Robinet moved to Chicago in 1960 and currently resides in Oak Park.

Biographical and Professional Information

Harriett Gillem Robinet was born and raised in Washington, D. C. She graduated from the College of New Rochelle, in New Rochelle, New York, and finished graduate degrees from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in microbiology. She began writing after moving to Chicago and after the birth of a son with cerebral palsy. The main character of ''Jay and the Marigold'' suffers from cerebral palsy. Her first two books were influenced by meeting other handicapped children and adults, who "have shared some of their anger, dreams, and victories." Her later books are historical fiction based around American historical events, such as the Chicago fire, the Battle of 1812, the emancipation of the slaves during and after the U.S. Civil War, and the Montgomery, Alabama and the bus boycott of 1956. Her books "portray likeable children and adults, with their needs and struggles, against a pivotal time in American history."

Published Works

  • Jay and the Marigold, Childrens Press, 1976
  • Ride the Red Cycle, Houghton Mifflin, 1980
  • Children of the Fire, Simon & Schuster, 1994
  • Mississippi Chariot, Simon & Schuster, 1994
  • If You Please, President Lincoln, Simon & Schuster, 1995
  • Washington City is Burning, Simon & Schuster, 1996
  • The Twins, the Pirates and the Battle of New Orleans, Simon & Schuster, 1997
  • Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule, Simon & Schuster, 1998
  • Walking to Bus Rider Blues, Simon & Schuster, 1999
  • Missing from Haymarket Square, Simon & Schuster, 2001
  • Twelve Travelers, Twenty Horses, Simon & Schuster, 2002

Selected Titles At Your Library

Ride the red cycle /
ISBN: 0395291836. OCLC Number:

Houghton-Mifflin,. Boston :. 1980.

Jerome, crippled since the age of two, struggles to realize his dream of riding a cycle.

If you please, President Lincoln /
ISBN: 068931969X. OCLC Number:

Atheneum Books for Young Readers,. New York, N.Y. :. ©1995.

Shortly after the Christmas of 1863, fourteen-year-old Moses thinks he is beginning a new free life when he becomes part of a group of other former slaves headed for a small island off the coast of Haiti.

Washington City is burning /
ISBN: 0689807732. OCLC Number:

Atheneum Books For Young Readers,. New York :. 1996.

In 1814 Virginia, a slave in President Madison's White House, experiences the burning of Washington by the invading British army.

Forty acres and maybe a mule /
ISBN: 061322986X. OCLC Number:

Aladdin,. New York :. 2000, ©1998.

Born with a withered leg and hand, Pascal, who is about twelve years old, joins other former slaves in a search for a farm and the freedom which it promises.

Walking to the bus-rider blues /
ISBN: 143526326X. OCLC Number:

Aladdin Paperbacks,. New York :. 2002, ©2000.

Twelve-year-old Alfa Merryfield, his older sister, and their grandmother struggle for rent money, food, and their dignity as they participate in the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott in the summer of 1956.

Twelve travelers, twenty horses /
ISBN: 0689876076. OCLC Number:

Atheneum Books for Young Readers,. New York :. ©2003.

On the way to California with their kind new master, thirteen-year-old Jacob, his mother, and other slaves are caught up in adventures that include trying to stop a plot to help the South secede from the Union.


Children of the Fire

won the Award from Friends of American Writers in 1991

Washington City is Burning

won the Carl Sandburg Award in 1997

The Twins, The Pirates, and the Battle of New Orleans

won the Midland Authors Award in 1998

Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule

won the Scott ODell Award for historical fiction for children in 1999

Walking to the Bus Rider Blues

was a Jane Addams Award Honor book in 2001

a Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award finalist in 2003

a Willian Allen White Book Award finalist for 2003 in Kansas and a Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List finalist in 2003-2004. Harriette was honored at the 2004 Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.

Speaking Engagements

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