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Barbara Binns

Born: 1950 in Chicago, Illinois
Pen Name: B.A. Binns

Connection to Illinois: Binns grew up on the south side of Chicago, and currently lives in Arlington Heights. She received a B. S. from Roosevelt University and an M. S. from DePaul.

Biography: Barbara Binns has had an eclectic career path that includes work as a clinical chemist at the University of Chicago Hospitals, as a computer analyst for AT&T, and now as an author for her readers. She frequently contributes to the Almanac of Arlington Heights, a quarterly publication in Arlington Heights, Illinois. She speaks to students, teachers, and librarians across the country at conferences and other events. In addition to writing, she provides lectures and workshops to both experienced and aspiring authors of all ages. She finds writing for young people an exercise in self-discipline and the perfect follow-up to her life as an adoptive parent and cancer survivor.

  • Pull YALSA’s 2012 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers, Oregon 2010 Readers Choice award winner, 2010 National Readers Choice Award for Young Adult fiction from RWA, 2011 Best Books For Youth in Detention from School Library Journal
  • Courage Illinois Reads Book List Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2023
  • Unlawful Orders Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards, Intermediate Nonfiction, 2023

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Young adult readers


Selected Titles

Being God: Farrington HIgh Series Book 2
ISBN: 9780988182110 OCLC: 846867467

A young adult novel about anti-hero Malik Kaplan. The bad boy of Farrington High School has his own cross to bear, or maybe it's a Star of David; being the black teenaged son of a Catholic mother and Jewish father can make life confusing.

ISBN: 9780062561657 OCLC: 1040264351

Ever since T'Shawn's dad died, his mother has been struggling to keep the family afloat. So when he's offered a spot on a prestigious diving team at the local private swim club, he knows that joining would only add another bill to the pile. But T studies hard and never gets into trouble, so he thinks his mom might be willing to bear the cost ... until he finds out that his older brother, Lamont, is getting released early from prison. Luckily, T'Shawn is given a scholarship, and he can put all his frustration into diving practices. But when criminal activity increases in the neighborhood and people begin to suspect Lamont, T'Shawn begins to worry that maybe his brother hasn't left his criminal past behind after all. And he struggles to hold on to the hope that they can put the broken pieces of their damaged relationship back together.--Amazon.

Die Trying: And Other Stories
ISBN: 9780988182196 OCLC: 822965798

AllTheColorsOfLove, Arlington Heights, IL : 2012.

Fourteen stories for adults and young adults, showing the sometimes humorous, and sometimes tragic facts of life. Includes:WHY DOES IT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE ME? A generation gap story about a woman designated by her family to talk Grandfather into leaving the past behind and moving into assisted living. In the process she learns that the past can hold unexpected value.ABOMINATION Life is good for sixteen year old Neill Mallory, until the day his boyfriend dumps him. Maybe they do love each other, but Carl’s parents have prayed over him, and he can’t fight people invoking the God thing and calling him an abomination.FATHERS and SONS The age-old epic battle between a fourteen-year-old boy and his father as they play the “my way or the highway” game and then wait to see who blinks.BEGGAR BOY She’s African-American from Indiana. He’s Iranian-African from Illinois. They meet in Jamaica, brought together by a boy too proud to beg and too ashamed to admit a painful past.DIE TRYING Juvon spent years with only one goal, the 2012 Olympics, preparing to bring medals home to his parents. A diagnosis of terminal cancer strips him of his chances. Experimental treatments are failing. He makes the decision to take his future into his own hands.

Minority of One: Farrington High Series Book 3
ISBN: 0988182122 OCLC: 880681938

Sheila Benderton: Young, White, former poor little rich girl, now just poor. She' starting a new life in an inner city high school that is only 8% white. She also faces life with a mother she barely knows. Her father blamed her mother's repeated infidelities for everything that went wrong in their family, including his recent suicide. After that, Sheila will never let herself fall under the spell of a guy like Julian Morales, the Hispanic superjock playboy. Neill Mallory: Young, Black, Gay. His future has been set in stone by a loving family, whether he wants it or not. He's a walking statistic struggling with the loss of the perfect boyfriend. Carl Redkin gave in to pressure from his parents and dumped Neill in an attempt to go

Pull: Farrington High Series Book 1
ISBN: 1934813435 OCLC: 662410327

WestSide Books, Lodi, N.J. : ©2010.

After his father kills his mother, seventeen-year-old David struggles to take care of his two sisters--and himself--while dealing with his grief, guilt, and trying to fit in at a tough new school while hiding his past.

Unlawful Orders: A Portrait of Dr. James B. Williams, Tuskegee Airman, Surgeon, and Activist
ISBN: 1338754262 OCLC:

Scholastic Focus 2022

Barbara Binns presents the inspiring story of one man in his struggle for racial equality in the field of battle and the field of medicine. The Tuskegee Airmen heroically fought for the right to be officers of the US military so that they might participate in World War II by flying overseas to help defeat fascism. However, after winning that battle, they faced their next great challenge at Freeman Field, Iowa, where racist white officers barred them from entering the prestigious Officers' Club that their rank promised them. The Freeman Field Mutiny, as it became known, would eventually lead to the desegregation of the US armed forces, forever changing the course of American history and race relations. One Black officer who refused to give in to the bigotry at Freeman Field was James Buchanan "JB" Williams. JB grew up the son of sharecroppers, but his loving family and insuppressible intellect drove him to push boundaries placed on Black Americans in the early twentieth century. JB's devotion to the betterment of others took him from the classroom where he learned to be a doctor, to serving as a medic in the US military and eventually joining the elite Tuskegee Airmen, where he fought to change the minds of all who believed Black men couldn't make good soldiers. But JB's greatest contribution came in his role as doctor and Civil Rights activist after the war, where he continued to push past injustices placed on Black Americans. Critically acclaimed author Barbara Binns tells the story of one man's remarkable life, and in doing so, explores the trials of the brave Black freedom fighters who defended the world against racism and bigotry, both on the front lines and at home.