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Honors and Awards

2015 Jane Addams Book Award, Older Readers

2015 Carter G. Woodson Middle Level Book Award

California Reading Association Eureka Silver Honor Book Award

Junior Library Guild Selection

Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children (National Association of Teachers of English), Recommended Book

Named a Distinguished Book by the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California.

Included on the 2015 list of Notable Social Studies Trade Books for young readers compiled by the National Council for Social Studies

Included in the New York Public Library’s list of 100 children’s books to read in 2014.

Praise for The Girl from the Tar Paper School

Starred review: “Beautifully and clearly written, this story of a teen who refused to be deterred in her pursuit of educational equality is matched by period photos–many of them located only after significant effort.” School Library Journal.

The Girl from the Tar Paper School, the first biography in any genre of Barbara Rose Johns, is a fascinating and intimate portrayal of a revolutionary protest, its young leader and her community, and it will make an excellent addition to personal, family and library collections everywhere.” Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Patrik Henry Bass, editor of Essence, discussed his favorite new books on ARISE TV’s “Arise 360” and recommended The Girl from the Tar Paper School. Click here to see the entire program. The Girl From The Tar Paper School is discussed about 10 minutes in.

Highly Recommended by the Library Media Connection.

“An extraordinary and inspiring story.” Salt Lake City Tribune.

“Teri Kanefield, a novelist and lawyer, uses archival photos, Barbara’s hand-written memoir and interviews to tell an inspiring story.” USA Today.

“This stirring tribute to Johns is an important addition to any student collection of civil rights books.” Publisher’s Weekly


“Worthy of the highest recommendation.” Midwest Book Review.

“. . . Kanefield follows the students’ strategies with an immediacy that will have readers chuckling and cheering and marveling at their clever audacity, as they lure the principal away from the building on a wild goose chase, forge notes to convene an all-school assembly, rally classmates to defy the probable censure of their parents, and call in the big guns from the NAACP to provide legal support . . .this well-researched slice of civil rights history will reward readers who relish true stories of unsung heroes.”Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

“Learning about Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and other champions of the Civil Rights Movement is important, but hearing about a teen Civil Rights leader shows kids you don’t have to be an adult to take a stand. The Girl from the Tar Paper School tells the true story of Barbara Rose Johns, who used nonviolent civil disobedience to draw attention to the poor treatment of herself and her black classmates.”Metro US.

“An important glimpse into the early civil rights movement.” Kirkus.

“Well-researched and drawing heavily on Johns’ own writings, and interviews with people who knew her best, Kanefield’s text manages to create a story that is genuine and should serve as an example to any young person battling an injustice.” Booklist


This fascinating book, amply illustrated with photos, profiles a little-known hero of the civil rights movement.” Buffalo News.

“Kanefield has done a masterful job in assembling photos and commentary. Woman Around Town


Featured review (5/5 stars): “Middle-grade readers will be captured by the courage and steadfastness of the young heroine and her friends. Teachers will be grateful for the accessibility of the writing and the careful research shown here. This fine book deserves wide readership and a place in classrooms and libraries everywhere.” San Francisco Book Review


“Kanefield does an excellent job putting together interviews, news articles, personal documents and numerous photographs to tell Barbara’s story.” Pittsburg Gazette-Post.

Book bloggers and educational organizations recommending The Girl from the Tar Paper School

Two nonprofit educational organizations, the Zinn Education Project and Rethinking Schools advise using The Girl from the Tar Paper School to introduce students to Brown v. Board of Education.

“Kanefield brings this little-known story to life with a gripping text and well-selected photographs that draw on careful research and many interviews with Johns’ family members, friends, and civil rights scholars. Bayviews, the Official Blog of the Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California.

“This is a moving, true, well-documented story about America.” Richie’s Picks.

“Titles to Feature in your Black History Month Displays,” Daryl Grabarek’s blog post, “Celebrations and Anniversaries | Nonfiction Notes, February, 2014,” School Library Journal


“I found the quiet courage of Barbara Johns a real page-turner. . . I recommend this book for all libraries . . . ” The Nonfiction Detectives, Two Intrepid Librarians Review the Best Nonfiction Books for Children


“. . .an important work that should be read by students studying the Civil Rights movement.” Nonfiction Monday: Rounding up the Best Nonfiction for Children and Teens


“. . an organically compelling and expertly-done non-fiction book for upper elementary and middle school grades, a lovely depiction of a real life black, teenage, female heroine, and a great fit for Common Core needs, being chock full of photographs, first-hand accounts, and original documents,” Jill Rothstein, Library Manager, Andrew Heiskell Library, New York City Public Library.

“I found this an informative, thought-provoking read. I thought it was well-researched. I liked the personal approach. I would definitely recommend this one,” Becky’s Book Reviews.

“When she was reading Richard Kluger’s Simple Justice, Teri Kanefield was inspired by learning about Barbara Rose Johns. . . .We are truly blessed that she took on the research and writing of a book, The Girl from the Tar Paper School, so readers all over can share in her astonishment.” Julia’s Journey.

“8 Middle Grade Nonfiction Titles Too Good To Miss . . . Amazing story.” W.H. Beck.

Good Reads With Ronnie, included in a selection of “some of the best books for kids to read not just for Black History Month, but anytime.”

“I know a book has really connected with me when I can’t keep from telling all my friends, even the non-educators, about what I learned . . .The latest book to do that to me is Teri Kanefield’s The Girl from the Tar Paper School.  Page and S