Texas Sweethearts

Children's Authors


In kindergarten, Don Tate was hailed by his classmates as "the best drawer in class,"a title he carried proudly throughout grade school and college. Today, he's a published children's book illustrator and author. Don has illustrated more than 45 trade and educational books for children. A few of which: SUMMER SUN RISIN' (Lee & Low Books, 2002); SURE AS SUNRISE (Houghton Mifflin, 2004); RON'S BIG MISSION (Dutton, 2009); SHE LOVED BASEBALL: THE EFFA MANLEY STORY (HarperCollins, 2010). HOPE'S GIFT (2012, Penguin Putnam) is his most recent book. Don's first authored book, IT JES' HAPPENED: WHEN BILL TRAYLOR STARTED TO DRAW (Lee & Low Books, 2012) published to starred reviews. Don lives in Austin with his wife, Tammy, his son, Kolby, and a dog named Bella.

Don enjoys speaking at schools about his books. His presentations are lively and interactive. Don approaches the content of his presentations from both an illustratorís and authorís perspectives, his school visits offer a solid integration of the Common Core Curriculum Anchor Standards for reading, writing, and speaking & listening, all of which are annotated, aligned, and available for review on his website.

Students will learn what inspires the stories Don writes about, and they'll learn how a book is revised, edited, and illustrated. Don's presentations and Teacher Reading Guides are in alignment with the Common Core Standards. Click here for more information.

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The strength and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. permeates this picture book about the funeral of Dr. King in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1968. Quiet, yet affecting, The Cart That Carried Martin is a unique tribute to the life of a man known world-wide for his outstanding efforts as a leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

Eve Bunting focuses on the funeral procession of Dr. King, beginning with the two men who found the cart to carry him through the streets of Atlanta. After painting it green, two mules named Belle and Ada are hitched to the cart where Dr. Kingís coffin is placed. Tens of thousands of mourners gather as the cart makes its way to Ebenezer Baptist Church, and then past the Georgia state capitol to Morehouse College. All the while, crowds of people pay their respects by singing songs of hope.


HOPE'S GIFT (Putnam)

A poignant story celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation Itís 1862 and the Civil War has turned out to be a long, deadly conflict. Hopeís father canít stand the waiting a minute longer and decides to join the Union army to fight for freedom. He slips away one tearful night, leaving Hope, who knows she may never see her father again, with only a conch shell for comfort. Its sound, Papa says, echoes the promised song of freedom. Itís a long wait for freedom and on the nights when the cannons roar, Papa seems farther away than ever. But then Lincoln finally does it: on January 1, 1863, he issues the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves, and a joyful Hope finally spies the outline of a familiar man standing on the horizon. Affectingly written and gorgeously illustrated, Hopeís Gift captures a significant moment in American history with deep emotion and a lot of charm.


IT JES' HAPPENED (Lee & Low Books)

A biography of self-taught (outsider) artist Bill Traylor, a former slave who at the age of eighty-five began to draw pictures based on his memories and observations of rural and urban life in Alabama.



It's a challenge to transform the "Nutcracker Suite's" romantic orchestra into jumpin' jazz melodies, but that's exactly what Duke Ellington and his collaborator, Billy Strayhorn, did. Includes a CD recording of the Ellington/Strayhorn composition.



Effa always loved baseball. As a young woman, she would go to Yankee Stadium just to see Babe Ruth's mighty swing. But she never dreamed she would someday own a baseball team. Or be the first--and only--woman ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

From her childhood in Philadelphia to her groundbreaking role as business manager and owner of the Newark Eagles, Effa Manley always fought for what was right. And she always swung for the fences.

From author Audrey Vernick and illustrator Don Tate comes the remarkable story of an all-star of a woman.


BLACK ALL AROUND (Lee & Low Books)

In this lively poetic tribute to the color black, the letters and words in a book, a limousine, a workhorse, beetles, a firefighter's boots, patent leather party shoes, piano keys, and more bring a sense of joy and wonder to a young girl. Patricia Hubbell's playful verses and Don Tate's colorful art celebrate the color black by combining seemingly unrelated objects in charming and imaginative ways.


SUMMER SUN RISIN' (Lee & Low Books)

From sunrise to sunset, an African American boy spends an activity-filled summer day helping his family on their farm. Feeding animals, mowing hay, picking vegetables, and eating freshly caught fish fill the hours.Set in Texas in the 1950s, Summer Sun Risin' is W. Nikola-Lisa's tribute to childhood, farm life, and family togetherness. Don Tate's sun-drenched paintings depict the family's daily activities and trace the sun as it travels across the sky.