Florence Crannell Means

1891 - 1980



Florence Crannell Means
Born on May 15, 1891, in Bladwinsville, New York, Florence Crannell was one of the earliest writers of multicultural children's book.  She married Carl Bell Means in 1912.  During her long career, she wrote over forty books for children and adults.  She concentrated on writing for young people because she believed that young people were still open to receive her message of racial equality.  Her books told the stories of a number of different minority groups: American Indian, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans.  In her works, she noted the similarities of these marginalized groups while respectfully celebrating their differences.  Before writing a new book, she would carefully research the minority group upon which the book was based.  She would also become familiar with individuals in the races she was writing about by going to live among them.  She died on November 19, 1980, in Boulder, Colorado.

Photograph from Something about the author (Commire, 1971, p. 154).

  • Received Childhood Education Association annual award, 1945
  • The Moved-Outers was designated a Newbery Honor Book, 1945
  • Received Nancy Bloch Annual Award, 1957
Selected Works
  • Rafael and Consuelo, with Harriet Fullen, Friendship, 1929
  • A Candle in the Mist, Houghton, 1931
  • Shuttered Windows, Houghton, 1938
  • Peter of the Mesa, Friendship, 1944
  • The Moved-Outers, Houghton, 1945 - Newbery Honor Book & Childhood Education Association Annual Award Book
  • Knock at the Door, Emmy, with Carl Means, Houghton, 1956 - Nancy Bloch Award Book
  • Reach for a Star, with Carl Means, Houghton, 1957
  • Commire, A. (Ed.). (1971). Means, Florence Crannell. In Something about the author (Vol. 1, pp. 154-155). Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company. (Photo)
  • Commire, A. (Ed.). (1981b). Means, Florence Crannell. In Something about the author (Vol. 25, p. 181). Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company.
  • Vandergrift, K.E. (1993, Winter). A feminist perspective on multicultural children's literature in the middle years of the twentieth century. Library Trends, 41 (3), 354-377.

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Last Modified: May 6, 2002