Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Harriette Gillem Robinet  

Pen Name: None


Born: July 14, 1931 in Washington, D.C.


Illinois Connection

Robinet moved to Chicago in 1960 and currently resides in Oak Park.

Biographical and Professional Information

Harriett Gillem Robinet was born and raised in Washington, D. C. She graduated from the College of New Rochelle, in New Rochelle, New York, and finished graduate degrees from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in microbiology. She began writing after moving to Chicago and after the birth of a son with cerebral palsy. The main character of ''Jay and the Marigold'' suffers from cerebral palsy. Her first two books were influenced by meeting other handicapped children and adults, who "have shared some of their anger, dreams, and victories." Her later books are historical fiction based around American historical events, such as the Chicago fire, the Battle of 1812, the emancipation of the slaves during and after the U.S. Civil War, and the Montgomery, Alabama and the bus boycott of 1956. Her books "portray likeable children and adults, with their needs and struggles, against a pivotal time in American history."

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- ''Children of the Fire'' won the Award from Friends of American Writers in 1991 ''Washington City is Burning'' won the Carl Sandburg Award in 1997 ''The Twins, The Pirates, and the Battle of New Orleans'' won the Midland Authors Award in 1998 ''Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule'' won the Scott O’Dell Award for historical fiction for children in 1999 ''Walking to the Bus Rider Blues'' was a Jane Addams Award Honor book in 2001; a Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award finalist in 2003; a Willian Allen White Book Award finalist for 2003 in Kansas and a Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List finalist in 2003-2004. Harriette was honored at the 2004 Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.