Hamilton was born in Yellow Springs, Ohio, the town her to which her grandfather escaped from slavery. She still lives there with her husband, poet Arnold Adoff.

Hamilton always, always wanted to be a writer. Before that happened, she was a cost accountant for an engineering firm, museum receptionist, and a nightclub singer. Her first book (Zeely) was published in 1967, and, on average, she has produced almost a new book every year since then.

She is not the same thing as Virginia Hamilton Adair.

She collects frog jokes, and would like yours. She can be reached at bodeep@aol.com (yes, really).


"I write for myself and strangers who read my books and become my friends."

"I can’t explain how it is I keep having new ideas. But one book inevitably follows another. It is my way of exploring the known, the remembered, and the imagined, the literary triad of which all stories are made."


The All Jahdu Storybook

Anthony Burns : The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave

Arilla Sun Down


The Bells of Christmas



Dark Way : Stories from the Spirit World



The Gathering

The Girl Who Spun Gold

Her Stories : African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales

The House of Dies Drear

In the Beginning


Justice and Her Brothers

M.C. Higgins, the Great (1975 Newbery Award)

The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl

Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom

The Mystery of Drear House

The People Could Fly : American Black Folktales

Plain City

The Planet of Junior Brown

A Ring of Tricksters : Animal Tales from America, the West Indies, And Africa

Second Cousins

Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush

When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing : The Adventures of Bruh Sparrow, Sis Wren and Their Friends

A White Romance


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