Karen English: Author

Researched by: Megan Hart

Karen English is an African American author who was born in California. She currently writes short chapter books and picture books. Karen is a member of the International Association of Black Writers and Artists.

Before Writing...

Karen English is a retired educator. She started teaching in the 70s but then stopped to raise her four kids. When her youngest was in high school, Karen went back to teaching 3rd grade.

Five Titles and Dates

English, Karen (2013). Dog Days, Illustrated by Laura Freeman. New York, New York: Clarion Books.

English, Karen (1999). Nadia's Hands, Illustrated by Jonathan Weiner. New York, New York: Clarion Books.

English, Karen (2004). Hot Day on Abbott Avenue, Illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. New York, New York: Clarion Books.

English, Karen (2007). Nikki and Deja, Illustrated by Laura Freeman. New York, New York: Clarion Books.

English, Karen (1997). Neely Coming, Neely Going, Illustrated by Synthia Saint James. New York, New York: Clarion Books.

Themes and Style

Through all of Karen English's books, she has some reoccurring themes: multiracial friendships, feuding friends, resolving differences, and internal struggles facing young females. Her preferred style of writing is realistic fiction. The stories she writes are driven by everyday experiences than by events.

Creative Process

Karen writes from the heart- what she intensely feels needs to be written. She tends to creates stories which focus on young people. Many of these stories concentrate on how life is like in the inner-city for children.


She has received numerous awards and recognition. Some of the most notable include:

Francie (1999): Coretta Scott King Award

Hot Day on Abbott Avenue (2005): ALA Notable Children's Book Award and Jane Addams Children's Book Award

Big Wind Coming! and Speak English for Us, Marisol! been featured by the Anti-Defamation League as recommended multicultural and anti-bias books for children.

Francie/QR Code

Karen English talks about the background story for Francie.


Personal Response

I think Karen English's book would be appropriate for students in PK-4th grade because her book are relatable. She focus her books are topics which affect many children, such as multicultural friendships, fights between friends, and finding new friends.

Work Cited

Karen English. (2009, February 1). Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://thebrownbookshelf.com/2008/02/21/karen-english/

Karen English. (2014, November 4). Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?aid=9309&a=1

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