Library of Congress

National Book Festival

Back to Meet the Authors

Poet, author, playwright and producer Shelia P. Moses was raised the ninth of 10 children. She is the co-author of Dick Gregory's memoir, "Callus on My Soul," as well as the award-winning author of several books for young readers: "The Legend of Buddy Bush," "The Return of Buddy Bush," "I, Dred Scott" and "The Baptism." In Moses' new book, "Joseph's Grace" (Simon & Schuster), the title character is about to begin his sophomore year when his father asks him to move in with his aunt to escape from his mother's drug problems and the dangerous people she associates with. The efforts to keep Joseph safe end in tragedy.

Previous National Book Festival Appearances

The Scoop

What challenges do you face in your writing process? How do you overcome them?

My challenge when writing is making sure that readers can see a picture with each line. I want them to see the clouds when I am talking about a storm coming to Rehobeth Road, where most of my books are set.

What tips or advice can you share with young students who hope to start writing?

“Writers are people who write everyday.”

Can you suggest a fun writing topic to get them started?

Topic: What’s in My Book Bag?

What is your list of favorite children or teen books?

  • Bud, Not Buddy
  • Tom Sawyer Adventures

How do you decide on themes for your books?

I write from the heart. I write about home.

What is your advice to parents for passing the joys of reading on to their children?

Parents…Turn the TV off and read with your children.

Can you tell us about any new books that you will be working on during the coming year?

I am working on a new novel - The Sittin Up.

If you weren’t creating children’s books, what do you think you would be doing?

If I were not writing for children, I would be a teacher. For sure!

To learn more about Sheila Moses, visit: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Shelia-P-Moses/19361088/author_revealed

Back to top

From the 2007 National Book Festival

What was your inspiration for your latest work The Baptism?

My inspiration to write The Baptism was the same as writing The Legend of Buddy Bush. I am inspired by my ancestors. The Baptism is about the tradition of getting baptized in my hometown. I write from the heart of my people. All of my books come from home.

What challenges do you face in your writing process? How do you overcome them?

I enjoy writing so much, that I never really feel challenged. The only thing difficult about writing for me is that financially, it takes a long time to be able to actually make a living doing what you love most.

What tips or advice can you share with young students who hope to start writing?

When talking to students, I tell them what my mentor told me. "Writers are people who write everyday."

What is your list of favorite children or teen books?

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Eloise by Kay Thompson
  • Just Like Josh Gibson by Angela Johnson
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

How important is research in your books? Can you explain that process as well?

Research is very important to my fiction and nonfiction work. Most of my research for my fiction books is done by interviewing people who have lived in my hometown for 70-80 years. When I am writing nonfiction I read hundreds of books, and I also interview my subjects, their family, friends and colleagues.

Back to top

Joseph's Grace

View Larger