Sharon M. Draper wins 2015 Edwards Award for 'Tears of a Tiger,' 'Forged by Fire,' 'Darkness Before Dawn,' 'The Battle of Jericho,' 'November Blues' and 'Copper Sun'

For Immediate Release
Mon, 02/02/2015


Macey Morales

Media Relations

American Library Association


CHICAGO – Sharon M. Draper is the recipient of the 2015 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens for “Tears of a Tiger”; “Forged by Fire”; “Darkness Before Dawn”; “The Battle of Jericho”; “November Blues” and “Copper Sun.” The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced the award today at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, held Jan. 30 – Feb. 3 in Chicago.

The three novels in the Hazelwood Series, “Tears of a Tiger,” “Forged by Fire” and “Darkness Before Dawn,” all published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, focus on the interwoven lives of teens at Hazelwood High. Andy, Tyrone, BJ and Keisha struggle with the deaths of close friends by drunk driving accident and then suicide, while step-siblings Gerald and Angel try to free themselves from their parents’ addiction problems and physical abuse.

The first two novels in the Jericho series, “The Battle of Jericho” and “November Blues,” both published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, address the tragic outcomes of cruel hazing traditions by Douglass High’s elite Warriors of Distinction club, as well as teen pregnancy.

“Copper Sun,” published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, is a harrowing, yet ultimately hopeful, account of 15 year-old Amari’s abduction into slavery in 18th century West Africa and the Carolinas.

“For decades, Sharon M. Draper has imbued her characters with deeply human complexity and born witness to the universality of their experiences, sparking powerful conversations and building empathy among teen readers,” said Edwards Committee Chair Sophie Brookover.

Sharon M. Draper will be honored at the YALSA Edwards Award Luncheon and presented with a citation and cash prize of $2,000 during the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco, June 26 – July 1. The award is sponsored by School Library Journal.

The award is named in honor of the late Margaret A. Edwards, a pioneer in providing library services to young adults. Through her work at Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Edwards demonstrated that only through literature would young adults move beyond themselves into a larger world.

Members of the 2015 Edwards Committee are: Chair Sophie Brookover, LibraryLinkNJ-The New Jersey Library Cooperative, Piscataway, N.J.; Amy J. Alessio, Schaumburg (Ill.) Township District Library; Alicia Blowers, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School, Alexandria, Va.; Jackie Parker, Sno-Isle Libraries, Lynnwood, Wash.; Elizabeth Saxton, Tiffin, Ohio; and Gail Zachariah, Keene (N.H.) Public Library.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has worked to build the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve and empower teens. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail,

For information on the Margaret A. Edwards Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit


Macey Morales
Media Relations Manager

Heather Cho
Media Relations Specialist


# # #