Leon's Story

(1997) Farrar Straus Giroux
written by Leon Walter Tillage
(also available in French, German and Korean)


“In this riveting autobiography, Baltimore janitor Leon Walter Tillage reflects on his life with all the vitality of a storyteller gathering his audience around him. He recalls his childhood as an African American sharecropper's son in 1940s North Carolina...Tillage's words describe a time, only a few short decades back, when Klansmen and Jim Crow laws ruled the South ... Roth's dramatic black-and-white collages pay homage to the power of Leon's story, a tale that does more in its gentle way to explose the horrors of racism than most works of fiction ever could.” - starred review, Publishers Weekly

“The full strength of character of Leon Tillage and those he represents is revealed in the plain dignity of his words.” - starred review, The Horn Book

“His voice is direct, the words are simple. There is no rhetoric, no commentary, no bitterness, just the facts of his personal story set against the segregation of the time.” - starred review, Booklist

• Boston Globe - Horn Book Awards Winner, Nonfiction
• A Junior Library Guild Selection.
• Best Books for Young Adults; American Library Association-YALSA
• Best Children's Books of the Year; Bank Street College of Education
• Booklist: Editors' Choice: Books for Youth; American Library Association
• Capitol Choices; The Capitol Choices Committee
• Fanfare Honor List; Horn Book
• Lasting Connections; American Library Association
• Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of the Social Studies
• National Council for the Social Studies
• Smithsonian Magazine's Notable Books for Children
• Children's Books of Distinction; Riverbank Review
• Notable Books for Children; American Library Association-ALSC
• Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
• National Council for the Social Studies
• Teachers' Choices; International Reading Association
• Georgia Children's Literature Awards
• Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award
• Texas Lone Star Reading List
• Virginia’s Jefferson Cup Award Winner