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Sharon Draper (OH '97)

Author and Educator

Ormond Beach, FL

At the time of the Award, Sharon Draper was:

Walnut Hills High School
Cincinnati, OH

Subject(s) taught: English/Language Arts

Biographical Information

Sharon M. Draper is a professional educator as well as an accomplished writer. She has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year, is a five-time winner of the CSK Literary Award, and is a NYT bestselling author of over thirty novels. She is a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award winner, and is the recipient of the Dean's Award from Howard University, the Pepperdine University Distinguished Alumnus Award, and the Marva Collins Education Excellence Award. In 2009 she received the Doctor of Laws Degree from Pepperdine University. She has been honored at the White House six times, and was chosen as one of only four authors in the country to speak at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. Her book Copper Sun was selected by the US State Department and the International Reading Association for the international project called Reading Across Continents. She has published 23 award-winning books for teens, tweens, and teachers. Her books are required reading in schools across the country.

Personal Message

I met a talented young man recently who had won several major writing awards. I asked him what his career plans were. "Well, I'm going to win a Pulitzer Prize!" "Super! And what will you do while you're waiting for that honor?" I asked. "Well, I guess I'll 'teach or something'," he said, with a shrug of his shoulders. "Hmm," I said. "Teaching is a passion. You just can't do it because it's something to do. "Why not?" he asked. "You know how you feel about writing?" I asked. The deep, passionate desire?" "Yeah." "That's how you should feel about teaching!" "But a teacher makes no money, gets no respect, and makes no difference to anybody!" "Who was your favorite teacher?" I asked. "Miss Markham--she made me love to write!" "And if she had just decided to 'teach or something' would she have been your inspiration?" "No," he admitted. I told him, "You are a gifted writer. If you're going to teach, remember your actions will be a gift to others. Become someone's memory!" 

Related Connections

Milestone: Sharon Draper (OH '97) Wins Young Adult Library Services Award

Sharon Draper In The News

Author Sharon Draper to Accept Young Readers' Tulsa Library Award August 28  |  Aug 21, 2015  |  Denver, CO

Additional Information


1970 Pepperdine University, B.A.

At-risk Students, English/Language Arts, Language Arts, National Board Certification, Professional Development, Teacher Training, Writing