Arnold Adoff was born in the East Bronx secton of NYC. As a kid, he read everything he could get his hands on, including all the books he could lug home from the library. He has been writing poetry since puberty, when he discovered that "girls and poetry were different from boys and prose."

Arnold studied history and government at New York's City College, then went to Columbia University and the New School for Social Research. He was a teacher and counselor in public schools in Harlem for twenty years. He has given up teaching to write full time, but continues to lecture and run workshops across the country.

Arnold has written biographies and edited collections of others' work, but mostly he is a poet. He is recognized as one of the first champions of multiculturalism in American children's literature. Black is Brown is Tan was one of the first kids' books to portray an interracial family delighting in each other's differences. In other books he celebrates the joy of diversity on people, places, foods, clothing, music. He suggests we stop noticing each other's colors and get to work realizing how cool we all are.

Arnold Adoff is married to fellow award-winning children's author Virginia Hamilton. They have two grown kids. Arnold and Virginia live in a redwood house in Yellow Springs, Ohio.


"By the time we reach adulthood, we are closed and set in our attitudes. The chances of a poet reaching us are very slim. But I can open a child's imagination, develop his appetite for poetry, and more importantly, show him that poetry is a natural part of everyday life. We all need someone to point out that the emperor is wearing no clothes. That's the poet's job."


All the Colors of the Race

The Basket Counts

Black Is Brown Is Tan

Daring Dog and Captain Cat


In for Winter, Out for Spring

Love Letters

Malcolm X

My Black Me

Outside Inside Poems

The Return of Rex and Ethel

Slow Dance: Heart Break Blues

Touch the Poem

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