Her literary recognition began when, as a challenge from one of her students, she entered and won first prize in the 1991 Ebony Magazine Literary Contest, for which she was awarded $5,000 and the publication of her short story "One Small Torch." Since that time, she has had numerous poems and stories published, and is also the author of the Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs series of books for middle readers. Her previous novel for Atheneum, Tears of a Tiger, was critically acclaimed and the recipient of the first Coretta Scott King Genesis Award.
Active in numerous literary and educational organizations, she currently serves on the board of directors of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, was one of the first teachers in the nation to achieve National Board Certification, and was recently honored at the White House for these accomplishments.
Sharon Draper often addresses educational and literary groups with entertaining readings of her poetry and novels, as well as with enlightening instructional presentations. She currently chairs the English department at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, where she still works at teaching students to write.