Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Patricia Hruby Powell  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Young Adult; Children; Children;

Born: in Arlington Heights, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Powell was born and raised in Arlington Heights. She currently resides in Champaign.

Biographical and Professional Information

Patricia Hruby Powell is an author, storyteller and dancer. She has graduated from London School of Contemporary Dance, University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign with a BFA in Dance, Temple University in Philadelphia with a MFA in Dance and the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign with a MS in Library and Information Science. As a dancer/choreographer, Powell worked in London, Winnipeg, and New York City. She has also traveled over North and South America, Europe and the Caribbean with her own dance company ONE PLUS ONE. Powell uses her dance experience to accentuate her presentations and storytelling along with worldwide percussion instruments and animal sounds. She has also worked as a lithographer (printing from large stone slabs), trapeze artist, ballet teacher, modern dance teacher, composition teacher, mime and a substitute librarian. Her first book, ''Blossom Tales: Flower Stories of Many Folk'', is a beautifully illustrated collection of fourteen retold folktales from around the world, each one about a flower. Her books, ''Zinnia'' and ''Frog Brings Rain'', are bilingual Navajo/English picture books.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Blossom Tales: Flower Stories of Many Folk
ISBN: 0967792983

Moon Mountain Publishing. 2002

A collection of 14 folk tales about flowers from around the world, including European, ASian, Pacific, African, North and South American tales.

Zinnia: How the Corn Was Saved
ISBN: 1893354385

Salina Bookshelf, Inc.. 2004

A story of adventure! When the Navajo people are on the brink of a devastating famine, the boy Red Bird is sent to ask Spider Woman for her help. On his journey he encounters a lizard, a Gila monster, a snake, and a flock of sun-yellow birds. Will they help Red Bird find Spider Woman in time to save the crops?

Frog Brings Rain
ISBN: 1893354083

Salina Bookshelf, Inc.. 2006

As fire creeps toward the village of the First People, First Man and First Woman must find a way to quench the flames. First Woman asks the Bird People, the River People, and the Water People for assistance, but everyone she speaks to has an excuse. Not me, said Mockingbird. The smoke would hurt my voice and I would never sing again. Not me, said Snail. I carry my house with me and I am slow. No, said Beaver. We'd like to help, but our river home would become a desert if we changed the flow of water. At last, First Woman asks the mysterious Frog for help. Will he be able to stop the flames before they reach the village? Author Patricia Hruby Powell's retelling of this Navajo folktale is as graceful as it is compelling, and Kendrick Benally's bright, folk-inspired contemporary paintings are as magical as the mythical time the story describes. Enter the village of the First People . and become a part of the time when the world was new.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books)
ISBN: 1452103143

Chronicle Books. 2014

Coretta Scott King Book Award, Illustrator, Honor
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, Honor
Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, Nonfiction Honor
Parent's Choice Award
Wall Street Journal's 10 Best Children's Books of the Year List
Bologna Ragazzi Nonfiction Honor 2014

In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine's powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.

Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case
ISBN: 1452125902

Chronicle Books. 2017

From acclaimed author Patricia Hruby Powell comes the story of a landmark civil rights case, told in spare and gorgeous verse. In 1955, in Caroline County, Virginia, amidst segregation and prejudice, injustice and cruelty, two teenagers fell in love. Their life together broke the law, but their determination would change it. Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of a Supreme Court case that legalized marriage between races, and a story of the devoted couple who faced discrimination, fought it, and won.


Frog Brings Rain

  • Spur Storyteller Finalist Award, 2007
  • Aesop Accolade Award, American Folklore Society, 2006
  • Zinnia

  • Land of Enchantment Book, 2006-07
  • Josephine

  • NPR Best Books of the Year List, 2014
  • Boston Globe Horn Book Nonfiction Honor, 2014
  • Parents Choice Gold Award for Poetry, 2014
  • International Bologna/Ragazzi Nonfiction Honor, 2014
  • Junior Library Guild Selection, 2014
  • Huffington Post Best Picture Book of the Year Biography (artist)

    , 2014

  • Wall Street Journals 10 Best Childrens Books of the Year List, 2014
  • Best Picture Books of 2014 | Adventures in Learning | PBS Parents
  • New York Public Library Best Childrens Books, 2014
  • Horn Book Fanfare Best, 2014
  • Book Page Best Childrens Books, 2014
  • GoodReads Choice Awards, Picture Book Finalist, 2014
  • School Library Journal List of Best Books of 2014 Nonfiction
  • Blue Ribbon Books 2014 Bulletin for the Center of Childrens Books
  • Chicago Public Library Best Books for Older Readers (older kids)

    , 2014

  • 100 Magnificent Childrens Books, 2014
  • Nerdy Book Club Nonfiction, 2014
  • Center for the Study of Multicultural Childrens Literatures Best Multicultural Books of 2014
  • BuzzFeed Best Books 2014
  • Amazon Editors Choice Best Book of the Month for Readers 6-8 January 2014
  • Daily Candy Product of the Month February 2014
  • School Library Journal Pick of the Day February 26, 2014
  • Follett School Solutions Title EZ subscription program Starred Review, May 2014
  • ABC Best Books for Children Catalog, 2014
  • A White Raven 2014 Book
  • The Association of Childrens Librarians of Northern California 2014 Distinguished Books
  • Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, 2015
  • Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, 2015
  • National Education Association (NEA)

    Read Across America Calendar, January 2015

  • CCBC Choices 2015, Best-of-the-year list Biography
  • New York City Reads 365 for 2016 Grade 5
  • 2016 ILLINOIS READS Book
  • William Allen White Childrens Book Awards Master List Kansas State Book Award, 2016-2017
  • ALA Notable Childrens Books for All Ages
  • Best Books Childrens Wall Street Journal
  • 25 Contemporary Picture Books to Help Parents, Teachers, and Kids Talk About Diversity - BuzzFeed
  • 45 Books to teach Children About Black History The Culture
  • Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
  • School Library Journal, Starred Review
  • Kirkus, Starred Review
  • Shelf Awareness for Readers, Starred Review

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    Contact Information

    80 Peachtree Road North Kingstown, Rhode Island 02852 401-884-6703 800-353-5877