I'm the author of
Way Past Cool, Phat Acceptance, Voodoo Dawgz and Skeleton Key, as well as many other books about black kids and teens, such as Six Out Seven, Babylon Boyz, Rats In The Trees, Bones Become Flowers, When All Goes Bright, The Bridge, Drawing From Life and Children Of The Night.

My stories have appeared in many anthologies, such as
In The Tradition, Cornerstones, School Is Not Cool, Follow That Dream, I Believe In Water, Face Relations and Brotherman.

After over thirty years of working with kids and raising four of my own, along with a few strays -- none of whom are in prison or collecting Welfare -- not to mention over twenty years of writing books and stories for and about kids, I've found that it's a lot easier for people to be "pro-child" about some kids than it is for them to care about and champion "other" kids. Perhaps, like the animals in George Orwell's Animal Farm, some kids are more equal than others?

At least to some people.

Almost all my stories and books are for and about black kids, who are not always cute and cuddly. My characters often spit, sweat and swear, as well as occasionally smoke or drink. Just like their real-world counterparts, some are "overweight" and have no desire to be skinny, or may look "too black," or are otherwise unacceptable by superficial American values... including some African-American values. Like on-the-real kids, they often live in dirty, violent environments, and are forced into sometimes nasty lifestyles.

And almost no one writes books or stories about them -- at least seldom in ways that don't exploit them, and/or don't glorify gangs, guns, drugs and violence. I've learned that few publishers, including black ones, will publish positive books about these kids... books that don't portray them in stereotypical roles and thus only reinforce the negative aspects of their lives. The result is that there very few positive books about these kids. This leaves them with no role models except stereotypes of gangsters, rappers or sports figures. Worse, virtually the only books that "white" children have to read about most black kids are also filled with these negative stereotypes. About the only exception are books in which black kids play a supporting role to white heroes.

I have devoted my career -- such as it is -- to writing positive but realistic books and stories, not only for and about black kids, but also for "white" kids so they will understand that the negative stereotypes are mostly all they get to see. When I first began writing I wanted to write many different kinds of books; adventure novels, magic, ghost stories. These were the kinds of books I grew up reading, though I often wondered why there were no black heroes such as ship captains or airplane pilots... no black Indiana Joneses, Hardy Boys or Hobbits.

But mainstream publishers only want the stereotypes: if (sometimes) not blatantly negative stereotypes, then only stereotypical positive images. Only what "good black kids are supposed to do." What the white world expects them to dream about and aspire to be.

As for my books, I often write about violence, racism and inequality because the U.S.A. is a violent, racist country of inequality in a world filled with violence, racism and inequality and pretending it isn't or trying to hide the stark primary colors under soft politically-correct pastels doesn't help anyone... except the self-righteous and self-appointed saviors of humanity and/or the politically-correct Pollyannas to sleep at night.

Most of my kids aren't angels, and I tend to portray them as the young savages most teen boys are... which probably includes your own no matter what color they happen to be. But they are being as good as they can be... which is a lot better than most people seem to think they are. To me, being pro-child includes all children, even kids whom it may be hard to like... especially kids who are hard to like.

On this site's other pages you will find some of my stories and novels as well as some basic advice and answers to frequently asked questions that many new writers may have about writing, submitting novels and stories to publishers, the publishing process, and finding literary agents.

Feel free to email me if you have questions about my work or about writing. 
And if you find anything you like here, or something that's useful to you, please drop a dollar or two in PayPal to help maintain this site.

Jess Mowry