Sharon Draper was born in 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio. The oldest child of Victor Mills who was a hotel maitre'd, and Catherine Mills, who worked as a advertising manager for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Catherine always read to her three children each night starting when they were very young. By the time Sharon began school she was already known to be the bookworm. Victor and Catherine encouraged their kids to try to study and work hard, and as a result they could reach whatever goal they set for themselves. Sharon started becoming a straight A student and going through almost every single book in her school library. While still in elementary school Draper also realized that one day she wanted to become a teacher. Sharon always would single out one old woman and call them her role model. One of her role models was, her fifth grade teacher Mrs. Kathadaza Mann. According to Sharon the teacher taught her students about Black history long before it was accepted. In high school Sharon took advanced and honors courses, and graduated a National Merit Scholar. With a scholarship, Sharon went to Pepperdine University, located in Malibu, California. In 1971, when she was just twenty, she graduated with a degree in English. She chose to return to Ohio where she went to Miami University of Ohio. She earned a master's degree in 1974. She married her husband, Larry Draper, who is also a teacher, and had four children. Being the Teacher of the Year the ambassador kept Sharon on the road more than twenty days a month. She had a hectic schedule but for her it must have been really hard considering she also had a second job as a published author. Her writing career began in 1990. She had always encouraged her students to submit stories and poems to writing contests. She forgot that she had even entered a contest. One day, however, she received a phone call that her short story, "One Small Torch," had taken first prize. Over night she suddenly became famous. She...
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