Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Patricia Hruby Powell  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction History Non-Fiction

Audience: Young Adult; 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.


Frog Brings Rain

Spur Storyteller Finalist Award, 2007

Aesop Accolade Award, American Folklore Society, 2006


Land of Enchantment Book, 2006-07


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 Journal's 10 Best Children's Books of the Year List, 2014

Best Picture Books of 2014

Loving vs Virginia

Junior Library Guild Selection 2017

Winter Kids’ Indie Next List Pick, Teen Readers

Arnold Adoff Poetry Award Honor

Audie Award for History/Biography 2018

2018 CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People

2018 NCTE Notable Children’s Books in Language Arts

2018 International Literacy Association (ILA) Young Adult Choices

2017 Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Romances of the Year

2018 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominee

2018 Texas Tayshas Reading List Top Ten

2018 Kansas NEA Reading Circle Catalog

Eureka Nonfiction Children’s Book Awards 2017

Great Lakes Great Books Reading List 2018-19

2017 Winter Okra Picks from Southern Independent Book Stores (SIBA)

Amazon Best YA Books of the Month, February 2017

100 Best Children’s Books for Black History Month

10 new children’s books for Black History Month

Alexander Prew Library Media Center Pick of the Week

7 Books That Will Inspire You to #Resist

African American Literature Book Club Best Seller List

Top 10 Tuesday: Middle Grade Episodes of the All The Wonders Podcast

King County, Washington Best Teen Books of 2017

Nerdy Book Club Best Poetry and Novels-in-Verse List 2017

Buzzfeed Books to Read to Escape the Freeze

Capitol Choices 2018 – Category: 10-14

WSRA Just One More Page! 2018 Nominees – Category: YA

TeenReads List

Common Sense Media List

Barnes & Noble List

A Word Edgewise recommended middle grade books in verse List

Learning History Through Story List

A Mighty Girl List

50 Must-Read Books For Sixth Graders – Bored Teachers List

2019-2020 Virginia Readers’ Choice Lists

Starred Review, Kirkus

Starred Review, Booklist

Struttin' with some Barbecue

2020 Arnold Adoff Poetry Awards – Honor Award for Middle Readers

Winner of Society of Midland Authors Children’s Nonfiction 2019

Junior Library Guild Selection 2019

The Children’s Book Council: Best Middle-Grade of 2018 from Kirkus Reviews

SCBWI Recommended Reading List 2018

Betsy Bird’s Best Nonfiction Chapter Books of 2018

2018 Unique Biographies – Betsy Bird List

A Word Edgewise recommended middle grade books in verse List

The NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2019

Trio – collaboration of book, songwriter, artist List

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Selected Titles At Your Library

Blossom tales :
ISBN: 0967792983. OCLC Number: 47965386

Moon Mountain Pub.,. .

A collection of fourteen folk tales about flowers from many different cultures.

Frog Brings Rain
ISBN: 1893354083. OCLC Number: 58526343

Salina Bookshelf,. .

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 would 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 as magical as the mythical time it describes. Enter the village of the First People and become a part of the time when the world was new.

Josephine :
ISBN: 9781452103143. OCLC Number: 808627968

. .

A portrait 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.

Lift as you climb :
ISBN: 1534406239. OCLC Number: 1007502075

. .

"A picture book about the life of civil rights activist Ella Baker"--Provided by publisher.

Loving vs. Virginia :
ISBN: 1452125902. OCLC Number: 914256675

. .

Written in blank verse, the story of Mildred Loving, an African American girl, and Richard Loving, a Caucasian boy, who challenge the Virginia law forbidding interracial marriages in the 1950s.

Struttin' with some barbecue :
ISBN: 9781580897402. OCLC Number: 993623869

. .

This is the true story of Lil Hardin Armstrong: pianist, composer, and bandleader in the early days of jazz. Ahead of her time, Lil made a career for herself--and for Louis Armstrong, her modest, unassuming husband ... Scat-inspired verse celebrates how Lil overcame race and gender barriers to become the first lady of the Chicago jazz scene--Publisher marketing.

Zíiniyah :
ISBN: 1893354385. OCLC Number: 53130869

Salina Bookshelf,. .

A retelling of the Indian legend which explains why the Navajo always plant a scattering of zinnia flowers among their food crops and respect every spider.