Born in Sweetville, Louisiana (a town that no longer exists) she now
lives in Denver, Colorado.
Another popular book of hers is "The Girl on the Outside."
About "Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World":
"Ten-year-old Justin doesn’t want to make his bed, fold his clothes,
clean his room, or wash the dishes to help out around the house — it’s 'women’s work!' His sisters and his mother are all frustrated with him
until their cowboy Grandpa visits and offers to take Justin back to
the family ranch and off their hands. Justin is thrilled and eager to
see the big rodeo and festival, and delighted that Grandpa is going to
teach him how to do real 'men’s work' like mending fences and handling horses.
"At his ranch, after Grandpa makes breakfast, he asks Justin if he
would like to wash or dry the dishes. Justin replies that he doesn’t
want to do either, then watches guiltily as Grandpa carefully and
efficiently does them by himself. By gentle example, Grandpa is slowly
able to show Justin that the division of labor is not quite what he
had thought. Grandpa makes his bed to have a warm welcome after a hard
day on the ranch, and he folds his clothes so he will look sharp at
the rodeo. Little by little, Justin learns the pleasure of taking care
of himself, and even learns to bake Grandpa’s special Best Biscuits in
the World as well as a delicious pork dinner for his mother and
Reader's review: "...Justin learns some lessons from his
grandfather, and begins to understand that responsibility is not all
about rules and regulations."
(Only trouble is, from what I heard, there are some grisly details in
an old story told to Justin - about the treatment of slaves. So it may
well not be suitable for kids under 10. But then, I haven't read it.)
("In this sequel to Mariah Loves Rock, the 11-year-old black heroine
begins her summer facing several challenges. First, she plans to enter
an all-city swim meet never before attempted by children from their
local recreation center. Then, her beloved older sister Lynn is acting mysteriously, and Mariah wants to know why. Finally, her 16-year-old half-sister Denise has come to live with the Metcalfs, and her disdain
of rules and order is disrupting the family harmony. Hard work yields
swim team success in the face of prejudice by some of the other
participants, and Mariah discovers that Lynn is secretly volunteering
at a homeless shelter. Overcoming her third challenge, handling her
jealousy of her father's attention to Denise and coming to an
understanding of her half-sister's behavior, requires all the maturity
Mariah can muster.")
"Walter, along with Shirley Sims and Hazel Whitsett, founded the
Northeast Women's Center located on East 38th Ave. in Denver. The
Center trains and places women in jobs, offers career counseling, and
serves as a resource to women who wish to improve their economic,
social, and political awareness. While making her home in Denver,
Walter continues to pursue her career as author of children's books.
She loves to travel and has visited such places as Haiti, China, the
Soviet Union, and Africa."
From "Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults":
"In several of Walter's novels, the characters grow as people while
they learn about their African-American heritage. As the grandfather
says in Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World, 'you must know
where you've come from in order to find the way to where you want to
go.' The title character of Justin is a ten-year-old boy whose father
has died and left him without a man to look up to. Picked on by his
sisters because he is clumsy at household chores, he rebels by acting
as irresponsible as he dares and declaring that all housework is
'women's work.' Finally Justin finds a role model in his own
grandfather, a black cowboy who takes him to his Missouri ranch and
convinces him that cowboys are strong, self-sufficient men partly
because they know how to cook their own food and otherwise care for
themselves. 'Justin' earned Walter national acclaim when it won the
1987 Coretta Scott King Award."
AWARDS: Runner-up for Irma Simonton Black award, 1981, for Ty's One-
Man Band; Parents' Choice awards, 1984, for Because We Are, and 1985,
for Brother to the Wind; Coretta Scott King awards from Social
Responsibility Round Table of American Library Association, honorable
mention, 1984, for Because We Are, honorable mention, 1986, for
Trouble's Child, winner 1987, for Justin and the Best Biscuits in the
World, for Mississippi Challenge, Honor award 1993; Best Book
Christopher award, for Mississippi Challenge, 1992; Carter G. Woodson
Secondary Book award, for Mississippi Challenge, 1993; Jane Addams
Honor Book award and Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup Worthy
of Special Note award, for Second Daughter, 1997.
"Shipwright helper in Vancouver, WA, 1943-44; City Dye Works, Los
Angeles, CA, salesperson, 1944-48; Los Angeles Public Schools,
personnel clerk, 1949-52, elementary school teacher, 1952-70;
consultant and lecturer on cultural diversity for educational
institutions, 1971-73. Civil rights activist for Congress of Racial
Equality (CORE), during 1950s and 1960s. Northeast Women's Center,
Denver, CO, cofounder and administrator, 1982-86. Delegate to Second
World Black and African Festival of the Arts and Culture, Lagos,
FICTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
•Lillie of Watts: A Birthday Surprise (novel), illustrated by Leonora
E. Prince, Ritchie, 1969.
•Lillie of Watts Takes a Giant Step (novel), illustrated by Bonnie H. Johnson, Doubleday, 1971.
•The Liquid Trap, illustrated by John Thompson, Scholastic, 1975.
•Ty's One-Man Band, illustrated by Margot Tomes, Four Winds, 1980.
•The Girl on the Outside (novel), Lothrop, 1982.
•Because We Are (novel), Lothrop, 1983.
•My Mama Needs Me, illustrated by Pat Cummings, Lothrop, 1983.
•Brother to the Wind, illustrated by Diane and Leo Dillon, Lothrop,
•Trouble's Child (novel), Lothrop, 1985.
•Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World (novel), illustrated by
Catherine Stock, Lothrop, 1986.
•Mariah Loves Rock (novel), illustrated by Pat Cummings, Bradbury,
•Have a Happy. . . (novel), illustrated by Carole Byard, Lothrop,
•Two and Too Much, illustrated by Pat Cummings, Bradbury, 1990.
•Mariah Keeps Cool (novel), illustrated by Pat Cummings, Bradbury,
•Tiger Ride, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1994.
•Darkness, illustrated by Marcia Jameson, Simon & Schuster (New York,
•Second Daughter, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996.
•Suitcase, illustrated by Teresa Flavin, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1999.
•Ray and the Best Family Reunion Ever, HarperCollins (New York, NY),
Alec's Primer (Vermont Folklife Center Children's Book Series) by
Mildred Pitts Walter and Larry Johnson, 2005
•The Mississippi Challenge (nonfiction), Bradbury, 1992.
•Kawanzaa: A Family Affair, (nonfiction), Lothrop, (New York, NY),
From Lenona@21:1/5 to All on Sat Sep 10 08:48:38 2022
If you'll pardon my going onto a tangent...
Regarding Justin's complaint that housekeeping is "women's work" (plus the fact that plenty of ADULT males still stubbornly felt the same way, both in the 1980s and now):
If you tried to force or trick your siblings to do your share of the chores on the grounds that "they don't hate it half as much as I do," would you really blame them - or your parents - for getting angry at you?
(Hint: we ALL have unpaid work to do, so we all need to learn to accept it. Even billionaires have to have regular, boring meetings with their employees.)
Would you blame your classmates (or your teacher) for getting angry if you tried to get them to do your hated schoolwork?
Would you blame your coworkers (or your boss) for getting mad if you kept trying to dump your work on them?
What's the difference? Why does anyone think a wife should have less leisure time than a husband?
(It is NOT fanatical to expect a couple or a family to dust and vacuum every room at least twice a month - failing to do that is how vermin and disease take over a household. Even without small children, cooking and cleaning can easily take 20 hours a
week. Besides, it takes just one plastic bag or glossy magazine on the floor to result in a lawsuit after a guest breaks a leg. That being said, there's little excuse for not dusting or vacuuming while something's baking and the dishwasher is running. I.
e., multitasking isn't that hard, with practice, and so, without children, housekeeping is not a full-time job, as a rule - but shirking your share is still outrageously childish.)
Not that some women couldn't be doing better when it comes to "men's work," of course. For example, if parents make their sons pay rent at a certain age - and Move Out by a certain age - daughters need to do the same and not act as though they're
entitled to be supported in the manner to which they're accustomed - hint, hint.
It reminds me of the Last Emperor, Pu Yi. Until about age 40 (after WWII) he'd never tied his own shoes, brushed his own teeth, or turned off a faucet. Prison changed all that - but for his last 20 years or so, he still struggled with remembering to do
his own chores. From Edward Behr's biography:
"Gaol was like school for him. All his life, until 1945, everyone around him had convinced him he was special, almost divine. Because of this, his attitude towards others had never been normal. Only in Fushun did he become aware of people as people."
I know a very well-educated man (born in 1968) who, not many years ago, said that a man shouldn't have to do his own housework when there's a woman around. (Somehow, I doubt that he would argue that a woman shouldn't have to earn her own living when her
next-door neighbor is a man.) I told him about Pu Yi's utter incompetence and asked, in effect, "is that really what you aspire to?" At least he didn't say yes - but I no longer remember what he DID say. I told him in an email that since he'll likely
find himself asking some friend of his for free co-housing, he should offer to do ALL the housework, at least. When you can't pay rent, that's only fair. (Right now, he's homeless.)
Finally: Yes, it's too bad that housewives and housekeeping got a bad name during the 1970s era of second-wave feminism, since that didn't exactly inspire boys to do their share, even when ordered to do so by their parents. But you'd think that by now,
people would realize that back then, SOMETHING had to be done to shake some sense into the heads of those girls from conservative or religious communities, since many of them were raised to believe that they wouldn't have to earn their own livings if
they were just kind and sweet enough - AND good housewives. (As if potentially adulterous husbands were likely to change just because his wife is "sweet" - or as if accidents or serious illnesses didn't happen to saintly husbands!)