• Traveling around the country, children’s book author Gwendolyn Hooks sparkles at the podium with her exciting book talks. Hooks readily shares her successes and tips on how to avoid her failures. An energizing speaker, she leaves her audiences inspired, ready to begin a writing career or take theirs to the next level. 

    A warrior for literacy, she teaches writing classes sponsored by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Arts Council. She has worked with PEEPS, the Paseo Edgemere Educational Partnership, a Paseo Arts Association initiative. 

    Not only does she share her own books with her students, she reads and discusses the works of other African American writers and illustrators. Hooks believes it is important for young people to see themselves in the books so they can imagine the possibilities. 

    Hooks blogs with other African American writers and illustrators on The Brown Bookshelf to push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers. Every day during the month of February, the blog showcases picture books through young adult books created by African Americans. The American Library Association selected The Brown Bookshelf as a Great Website for Kids.

    Her 20 published books include Bobby’s Big Bear Hunt, a 2011 Mom’s Choice Award winner. She won the 2012 SORMAG Children’s Author of the Year award. The School Library Journal said her nonfiction book series: Arctic Appetizers-Food Webs in the Arctic, Freshwater Feeders-Food Webs in Freshwater, and Makers and Takers-Food Webs in the Oceans “. . . has stunning photos, fascinating facts, and intriguing examples. These titles will support the science curriculum and appeal to general readers.” The School Library Journal also reviewed Pet Costume Party, part of the eight book Pet Club Stories series. “. . . Hooks’ giggle-worthy story. Basic vocabulary combined with dialogue and slightly more complex sentence structure will help stretch beginning readers while keeping them engaged with the familiar.” Another Pet Club Story, Find the Cat was a finalist for the Crystal Kite Award sponsored by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
     Her latest is the picture book biography, Tiny Stitches – The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas (Lee and low Books, 2016). 

    It has received great reviews including a Booklist STAR. 
    “His life and work are vivid in the pages of this picture book biography, in which Hooks details how his youthful work in fine carpentry, paired with his desire to become a doctor, propelled Thomas in his pursuit of his goals.”

    Kirkus calls it “. . . a rousing tribute to a man unjustly forgotten . . .”
    Gwendolyn is the proud mother of Fort Worth Independent School District writing teacher, Leslie Hooks, Marine pilot, 1st Lieutenant Edmond Hooks, Jr, and business marketing professional, Alison Hooks. Gwendolyn loves traveling, reading, and swimming. She resides in Oklahoma City with her husband. 


  • I have had two major careers. First I taught middle school mathematics and I loved it. My classes were full of characters and I began to imagine them in future books. Some of my students hated reading and it broke my heart. I gave them books to explore. I am convinced they had not found the right books for themselves. Today, I write so young people can see themselves reflected in books just as if they are looking in a mirror and also so others can look into the window of other cultures.   

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