Sharon Dennis Wyeth

Author. Poet. Memoirist.


About Me

“When I was a child, reading saved my life. As an adult, I’ve found my way writing childhood.”

I’ve been writing books for children and young adults since 1989. My writing career is part of a personal quest for understanding that began as early as the age of three when I asked my babysitter (Mrs. Fisher) the following question:

“What is me?

“Me is you,” Mrs. Fisher replied.

It wasn’t the answer I was looking for. I really wanted to know who “ME” was.

So I began to collect family stories and pour over the photograph albums. I somehow sensed that an important part of “me” was embedded in my family’s history. But when I asked my grandparents what life had been like for them as children, their stories came in drips and drabs. It would be a long time before I found out what their lives had really been like. They were trying to protect me. As the descendants of enslaved West Africans (from Cameroon) and European colonists (from the British Isles), my family’s identity had been defined by strict racial codes. They had faced discrimination in nearly every aspect of their lives.

Surviving racism was a big part of my family’s history. But it wasn’t all that defined them. They were also farmers and teachers and horse lovers. They played the guitar and the accordion and the piano and started churches in their own homes and built their own schoolhouse. There were a number of soldiers and several store owners and a small-town post master. I also discovered there had been housekeepers in the family and several house painters; childcare workers, a midwife and a nurse. There had been a well known pastry chef and a fire fighter, one of the first of his race to get the job.

When my mother and father taught me to read, it was one of the greatest gifts I ever received. The books I read in the library inspired me to write down stories myself–the stories I collected and those that I imagined and the stories I’m dreaming now.

My latest publication EVETTE: THE RIVER AND ME, an American Girl book, introduces a girl on a quest to restore health to a river while healing a rift in her racially divided family.

Themes and Characters

Readers of the picture books and contemporary and historical fiction I’ve written will encounter the themes that I think are important to shine a light on:

Literacy, racial harmony, identity, poverty, contemporary families, bullying, resilience, African American history, American history, the search for beauty, the strength found in community and a positive co-existence with nature.

My characters are every-day children and young adults who demonstrate resilience and find their own voices in the face of adversity. I believe in cultivating optimism. I believe in the positive power of story.

In EVETTE: THE RIVER AND ME, my American Girl book published September 2021, thirteen-year-old nature lover Evette Peeterson joins the environmental community. Her actions make a difference in the health of a river that holds personal memories for her family.

Awards, Honors, Etc.

Book Awards: Pleased to announce that American Girl doll EVETTE PEETERSON and my book


Past awards include: Children’s Book Council Notable Book, Best Books of the Year Parents Magazine, New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, New York Public Library One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing, “Reading Rainbow” Book, LAMBDA Literary Award Finalist

Other Honors: NAACP Education Award, Shuster Award (Hunter College), Cave Canem Poetry Fellowship, Stephen Crane Literary Award (Newark Public Library), Lucille Clifton Poetry Fellowship (Squaw Valley Community of Poets), Mid Atlantic Arts Fellowship, Geraldine R. Dodge Fellowship (VCCA), Rockefeller Foundation grant

Faculty: Visiting Associate Professor, Hollins University Graduate Dept. Children’s Literature

Speaker Appearances: International Reading Association, American Library Association; conferences, universities and schools in the U.S., and abroad


Sharon Dennis Wyeth is an African American writer with a multi-generational mixed-race legacy–the descendant of enslaved West Africans. free people of color, European colonists and indentured servants. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., she is the author of numerous award-winning books for children and young adults.

Ms. Wyeth attended public schools and graduated from Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C.. She received an A.B. with honors in a combined discipline of sociology, psychology and anthropology from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hunter College in New York, New York.

She is the recipient of a Cave Canem Fellowship for African American poets. She is a Visiting Associate Professor in the Graduate Department of Children’s Literature at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

An accomplished public speaker with a background in theater and speech coaching, she has been a keynote speaker at the national conference of the International Reading Association and other conferences.

At home with audiences of all ages, Ms. Wyeth has visited numerous schools throughout the United States and abroad sharing her work, her writing process and her personal story, motivating students to become avid readers and fearless writers.

Her themes include literacy, racial harmony, identity, poverty, contemporary families, bullying, resilience, African American history, American history, the search for beauty, a healthy co-existence with the environment and the strength found in community.

Sharon has a new book, The River and Me. Learn more at American Girl about Evette and her passion for nature!