Extraordinary Magic

The Storytelling Life of Virginia Hamilton


By Nina Crews

Formats and Prices




$24.99 CAD




Hardcover $18.99 $24.99 CAD

★ "Purchase this lovely picture book . . . to encourage future creators. With every page, readers will be inspired to follow their own magic." —School Library Journal, starred review

This lyrical picture book biography tells the story of one of America’s most celebrated children’s book authors, Virginia Hamilton, the first African American to win the Newbery Medal, and is perfect for fans of Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré.

Virginia was free.
To be a dreamer.
To be a wanderer.
To be her own unique self.
Free to be.

Virginia Hamilton was only nine years old when she decided she would become a writer. Growing up in the countryside of Ohio, she listened to her family’s stories and knew that words held extraordinary magic. From her childhood years discovering her love for storytelling, to her early adult life honing her craft in the city, Virginia found her voice in her writing as she began a career defined by her roots.  

Through interconnected poems, this moving biography celebrates the remarkable life of the highly decorated and much beloved Virginia Hamilton. It’s a stunning tribute to a girl who dared to dream—and inspired those after her to do the same.


  • Praise for Extraordinary Magic:

    * "Depicting the genesis of the imaginative world of a groundbreaking writer for children, this is the first picture book biography about Virginia Hamilton . . . Purchase this lovely picture book . . . to encourage future creators. With every page, readers will be inspired to follow their own magic."
    School Library Journal, starred review
  • "Poems and pictures trace Virginia Hamilton’s family history, childhood, and growth into a writer…. In poem after poem—all in delicate, unrhymed verse—Crews carefully gives budding writers a role model…. Both a tribute to Hamilton’s genius and an invitation to those yet to come."
  • "Before she was an award–winning author of children’s books, Virginia Hamilton (1934–2002)  learned the art of storytelling from her close-knit family. Crews’s free-verse poems recount Hamilton’s Ohio upbringing learning from her father about Black luminaries, and wondering how she might shine like the starry individuals in her beloved family…. Digitally rendered, shape-based illustrations attend slice-of-life lines to emphasize Hamilton’s experiences walking through the world as a storyteller whose 'most extravagant trips/ were in her mind.'"
    Publishers Weekly

On Sale
Jan 9, 2024
Page Count
40 pages