The 100 Most Popular Young Adult Authors: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies

By Bernard A. Drew | Go to book overview

Alice Childress

Urban drama

Charleston, South Carolina
October 12,1920–August 14,1994

A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich

“When the social agitation of the 1960s brought about the development of a new genre of hard-hitting problem novels aimed specifically at teenage readers, editor F. N. Monjo challenged playwright Alice Childress to devote her writing skills to a book for young readers. The result was A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich, which is such a powerful book that it helped shape the new genre as well as bring it respect,” according to Alleen Pace Nilsen.

Sandwich tells the story of Benjie, an inner-city boy on the brink of becoming a heroin addict. He says, “Now I am thirteen, but when I was a chile, it was hard to be a chile because my block is a tough block and my school is a tough school. I'm not trying to cop out on what I do or don't do cause man is man and chile is chile, but I ain't a chile no more. Don't nobody wanta be no chile cause, for some reason, it just hold you back in a lotta ways. …

“My block ain't no place to be a chile in peace. Somebody gonna cop your money and might knowk you don cause you walkin with short bread and didn't even make it worth their while to stop and frisk you over. Ain't no letrit light bulb in my hallway for two three floors and we livin up next to the top floor. You best get over bein seven or eight, right soon, cause seven and eight is too big for relatives to be holdin your hand like when you was three, four, and five. No, Jack, you on your own and they got they thing to do, like workin, or goin to court, or seein after they gas and letrit bills, and they dispossess—or final notice, bout on-time payments—and like that, you dig?”

Benjie's mother, Rose, is so busy working to support her son and his grandmother that she has no time to give him moral guidance. Benjie is reluctant to trust his mother's new boyfriend, Butler Craig,

-61-

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The 100 Most Popular Young Adult Authors: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xxvii
  • Joan Aiken 1
  • Louisa May Alcott 8
  • Lloyd Alexander 12
  • V. C. Andrews 17
  • Piers Anthony 22
  • Avi 30
  • Jay Bennett 35
  • Cynthia Blair 39
  • Francesca Lia Block 42
  • Judy Blume 45
  • Sue Ellen Bridgers 50
  • Bruce Brooks 53
  • Betsy Byars 56
  • Alice Childress 61
  • James L. Collier Christopher Collier 65
  • Caroline B. Cooney 69
  • Susan Cooper 73
  • Robert Cormier 77
  • Chris Crutcher 83
  • Richie Tankersley Cusick 86
  • Paula Danziger 89
  • Peter Dickinson 93
  • Franklin W. Dixon 98
  • Lois Duncan 109
  • Paula Fox 115
  • Jean Craighead George 120
  • Eileen Goudge 124
  • Bette Greene 128
  • Rosa Guy 131
  • Lynn Hall 135
  • Virginia Hamilton 139
  • Jamake Highwater 143
  • S. E. Hinton 147
  • Isabelle Holland 151
  • H. M. Hoover 156
  • Monica Hughes 159
  • Hadley Irwin 163
  • Brian Jacques 167
  • Diana Wynne Jones 170
  • Carolyn Keene 174
  • M. E. Kerr 191
  • Stephen King 197
  • Norma Klein 205
  • Rouald Koertge 211
  • E. L. Konigsburg 214
  • Gordon Korman 217
  • Madeleine L'Engle 220
  • C. S. Lewis 225
  • Robert Lipsyte 230
  • Jack London 234
  • Lois Lowry 240
  • Margaret Mahy 244
  • Ann M. Martin 249
  • Harry Mazer 257
  • Norma Fox Mazer 261
  • Anne Mccaffrey 266
  • Lurlene Mcdaniel 273
  • Robin Mckinley 277
  • Nicholasa Mohr 281
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery 284
  • Walter Dean Myers 289
  • Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 295
  • Joan Lowery Nixon 301
  • Andre Norton 308
  • Scott O'Dell 316
  • Janette Oke 320
  • Francine Pascal 324
  • Katherine Paterson 337
  • Gary Paulsen 341
  • Richard Peck 347
  • Robert Nowton Pack 352
  • Susan Beth Pfeffer 356
  • Christopher Pike 360
  • Janet Quin-Harkin 365
  • Ann Rinaldi 369
  • Cynthia Rylant 372
  • Marilyn Sachs 375
  • J. D. Salinger 378
  • Ouida Sebestyen 382
  • William Sleator 385
  • Gary Soto 388
  • Jerry Spinelli 391
  • R. L. Stine 394
  • Todd Strasser 402
  • Mildred D. Taylor 406
  • Theodore Taylor 409
  • Joyce Carol Thomas 413
  • Julian F. Thompson 416
  • J. R. R. Tolkien 419
  • Mark Twain 423
  • Cynthia Voigt 429
  • Jill Paton Walsh 433
  • Barbara Wersba 436
  • Robert Westall 439
  • Phyllis A. Whitney 443
  • Patricia C. Wrede 448
  • Patricia Wrightson 451
  • Laurence Yep 454
  • Jane Yolen 459
  • Paul Zindel 465
  • Author/Title/Series Index 471
  • Genre Index 527
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