Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Harriette Gillem Robinet  

Pen Name: Harriett G Robinet, Harriett Robinet

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: 1931 in Washington, DC


Illinois Connection

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

Biographical and Professional Information

Harriette Gillem Robinet Born in Washington D.C. she spent her childhood summers in Arlington, Virginia where her mother's father had been a slave under General Robert E. Lee. She graduated from the College of New Rochelle, in New Rochelle New York and finished graduate degrees from Catholic University of America, 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. Her later books are historical fiction based around American historical events, such as the Chicago fire, the Battle of 1812 a, the emancipation of the slaves during and after the U.S. Civil War, and Montgomery, Alabama and the bus boycott of 1956.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Jay and the Marigold
ISBN: 0516035142

Childrens Pr. 1976

A young boy born with cerebral palsy watches a flower grow in spite of its handicap. This shows him that he too can grow and blossom.

Ride the Red Cycle
ISBN: 0395291836

Houghton Mifflin. 1980

Jerome, crippled since the age of two, struggles to realize his dream of riding a cycle.

Children of the Fire
ISBN: 0689839685

Aladdin. 2001

Eleven-year-old Hallelujah is fascinated by the fires burning all over the city of Chicago. Little does she realize that her life will be changed forever by the flames that burn with such bright fascination for her.
The year is 1871 and this event will later be called the Great Chicago Fire. Hallelujah and her newfound friend Elizabeth are as different as night and day

but their shared solace will bind them as friends forever, as a major American city starts to rebuild itself.

Mississippi Chariot
ISBN: 0689319606

Atheneum. 1994

In 1936 Mississippi, twelve-year-old Shortning Bread Jackson comes up with an ingenious scheme to free his father from the chain gang to which he had been sentenced for a crime that he had not committed.

If You Please, President Lincoln!
ISBN: 068931969X

Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 1995

When the Emancipation Proclamation fails to free slaves in the border states, Moses, a Maryland slave boy, runs away with a friend and is tricked into journeying with four hundred others to an inhabitable part of Haiti.

Washington City Is Burning
ISBN: 043976100X


Back cover has a slight sticker sign and a small bottom corner crease. No marks, clean and tight. Ships very quickly and packaged carefully!

The Twins, The Pirates, And The Battle Of New Orleans
ISBN: 0689845316

Aladdin. 2001

As the Battle of New Orleans rages on, twins Pierre and Andrew set out to find and free their mother and sister from slavery, however the task is filled with great danger as they soon encounter alligators and evil-spirited pirates. Reprint.

Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule
ISBN: 0689833172

Aladdin. 2000

Winner of the 1999 Scott O'Dell Award
A Notable Children's Book in the Field of Social Studies

Maybe nobody gave freedom, and nobody could take it away like they could take away a family farm. Maybe freedom was something you claimed for yourself.
Like other ex-slaves, Pascal and his older brother Gideon have been promised forty acres and maybe a mule. With the family of friends they have built along the way, they claim a place of their own. Green Gloryland is the most wonderful place on earth, their own family farm with a healthy cotton crop and plenty to eat. But the notorious night riders have plans to take it away, threatening to tear the beautiful freedom that the two boys are enjoying for the first time in their young lives. Coming alive in plain, vibrant language is this story of the Reconstruction, after the Civil War.

Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues
ISBN: 0689838867

Aladdin. 2002

"Oh, I'm singing the bus-rider blues,
the Alabamy bus-rider blues.
I got me a feeling, deep down inside,
It ain't never ever gonna be the same."

During the Alabama bus boycott, six months after Rosa Parks made her famous bus protest, Alfa Merryfield and his family struggle to pay the rent. But someone keeps stealing their rent money -- and now someone is accusing them of stealing!
With only a few days left before rent is due, Alfa and his sister, Zinnia, know they don't have much time. To solve this mystery, they must "walk the walk and talk the talk of nonviolence" that Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders preach -- and what they discover may be more than they dreamed...

Missing from Haymarket Square
ISBN: 0689854900

Aladdin. 2003

CHICAGO, 1886. Twelve-year-old Dinah Bell is too young to be working twelve-hour days. But to the factory and mill owners, age doesn't matter. In fact nothing seems to matter to them except how much work gets done. But Dinah and workers like her have many concerns: Food is scarce, wages are small, and hope seems out of reach.
Dinah's father knows there must be a better way -- that's why he and eight thousand others are planning to march for an eight-hour day. But when her father is taken prisoner for helping to plan the march, Dinah is desperate to rescue him. As the march gives way to a terrifying riot, Dinah faces constant danger and a persistent question: What will become of her family if she does not set her father free?

Twelve Travelers, Twenty Horses
ISBN: 0689876076

Aladdin. 2005

On the way to California in 1860 with their kind new master, thirteen-year-old Jacob Israel Christmas, his mother, and other slaves are caught up in adventures that include trying to stop a plot to help the South secede from the Union. Reprint.


-- Children of the Fire

1991 Friends of American Writers Award

2013 ILLINOIS READS BookWashington City is Burning

1997 Carl Sandburg Award The Twins, The Pirates, and The Battle of New Orleans

1998 Midland Authors Award Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule

1999 Scott O'Dell Award for historical fiction for children