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A video interview with

Nikki Grimes

Nikki Grimes was born in Harlem, but grew up in many different parts of New York. As a foster child from a broken home, she moved from place to place, always saying goodbye to new friends. Reading and writing became her survival tools. When she had no one else to talk to, Grimes wrote poems and stories about the things that were bothering her. As an avid reader, she checked out library books by day and read at night by flashlight.

You can watch the interview below, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Nikki Grimes, or see a selected list of her children's books. (This video is also available on YouTube and iTunes.)

Biography

Nikki Grimes was born in Harlem, but grew up in many different parts of New York. As a foster child from a broken home, she moved from place to place, always saying goodbye to new friends. Reading and writing became her survival tools. When she had no one else to talk to, Grimes wrote poems and stories about the things that were bothering her. As an avid reader, she checked out library books by day and read at night by flashlight.

As an adult, Nikki Grimes became a world traveler. At Rutgers University in New Jersey, she minored in African languages, which led her to study Swahili literature in Tanzania. After spending a year in Africa, Grimes moved to Sweden, where she lived for six years, learned Swedish, and hosted a radio show for immigrants. Grimes' experiences abroad, which also include travel to China, Russia, Trinidad, and Haiti, have given her a global perspective from which to write.

As a children's poet, Nikki Grimes has created the kinds of books that she lacked while she was growing up: books that address tough topics and have characters who are African American. Her books have won numerous awards, including a Coretta Scott King Author Award and several Coretta Scott King Honors. In addition to writing for children, Grimes also writes poetry and articles for teens and adults.

Today Nikki Grimes lives in Corona, California, where she enjoys hobbies such as making jewelry and knitting. Grimes also travels around the country, visiting classrooms and speaking to educators.

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx