Coretta Scott King & Newbery Medal Winner
Historical Fiction Novelist
Travels from: Arlington, VA

“With both stirring emotion and apparently effortless skill, Dawson braids the many compelling strands of this story into a stunning conclusion. A remarkable accomplishment—a sheer triumph of a book.”—Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medal winner and New York Times bestselling author

Amina Luqman-Dawson loves using writing to tell stories and to build an understanding of race, culture and community. Her published writing includes op-eds in newspapers, magazine articles, travel writing and book reviews.  She’s authored the pictorial history book Images of America: African Americans of Petersburg (Arcadia Publishing). She has a BA in Political Science from Vassar College and a Master of Public Policy from UC Berkeley. Freewater (Little Brown) is her debut novel. The novel is a New York Times Bestseller and has received critical acclaim, including the John Newberry Medal and the Corvette School King Award. Amina is the proud mother of a 14-year-old son.  She, her husband and son reside in Arlington, VA. 

Amina's Featured Titles


Little, Brown Books for Young Readers |
Middle Grade Historical Fiction

Winner of the John Newbery Medal
Winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award
An Indiebound Bestseller

Award-winning author Amina Luqman-Dawson pens a lyrical, accessible historical middle-grade novel about two enslaved children’s escape from a plantation and the many ways they find freedom.

Under the cover of night, twelve-year-old Homer flees Southerland Plantation with his little sister Ada, unwillingly leaving their beloved mother behind. Much as he adores her and fears for her life, Homer knows there’s no turning back, not with the overseer on their trail. Through tangled vines, secret doorways, and over a sky bridge, the two find a secret community called Freewater, deep in the swamp.

In this society created by formerly enslaved people and some freeborn children, Homer finds new friends, almost forgetting where he came from. But when he learns of a threat that could destroy Freewater, he crafts a plan to find his mother and help his new home.

Deeply inspiring and loosely based on the history of maroon communities in the South, this is a striking tale of survival, adventure, friendship, and courage.

African Americans of Petersburg

Arcadia Publishing Library Editions |
Historical Nonfiction

The city of Petersburg has distinguished itself as a special place for African American history. African Americans in Petersburg have overcome racial and political obstacles placed in their paths. The city was the site of one of the largest free black populations in the South leading up to the Civil War, and more black soldiers participated in the Siege of Petersburg than in any other Civil War engagement. The city is the location of First Baptist Church, the nation’s oldest black church; has produced trailblazers in political life, including Virginia’s first black mayor; and is the site of the famous Halifax Triangle, a thriving black business district. This diverse and poignant collection of photographs reveals a heritage rich in entrepreneurial spirit, devotion to church life, and unshakable courage in the struggle for civil rights.


Travel Through Time: Using fiction to connect with hard history

How fiction elicits greater understanding, empathy and connection with hard history. Open a reader’s eyes and heart to a world of experiences. Placing FREEWATER on the landscape of what’s possible in changing the way we relate to the nation’s history of enslavement.


The Path to FREEWATER: A writer’s journey from idea to Newbery

The journey to publication for a debut novel is always filled with twists and turns, FREEWATER is no exception. A journey writing a novel while carrying on with life. How to get unstuck while writing. Finding support and advocates.


Talking History in the Age of Book Banning

Why history matters in a book banning climate. Book banning threatens to styme discussion of truthful history, particularly the African American experience. From Virginia to Florida, history is under siege. Why it matters and a path forward?


Teaching FREEWATER: Teacher Workshop

Let’s discuss the historical context, themes, literary techniques, character development and relationships presented in FREEWATER. Identify and examine specific scenes for class discussion. Review and revise a discussion guide for students. Best if participants have read FREEWATER prior to workshop.
Audience: Teachers, 5th – 12th


Teacher Q & A: Everything FREEWATER

Are you about to engage students on FREEWATER? Put questions to the author about the book themes, scenes, characters, the writing process and more.


Book Club Discussions

Invite Amina Luqman-Dawson to your book club event. Chat about characters and scenes. Hear the backstory on how particular characters, scenes and plot twists were created. Hear the success and challenges during the writing process.

Fun Facts + More About Amina

Videos, Articles and Resources for Kids, Parents and Teachers!

Amina’s News & Events

Amina’s Blog

Honors, Awards & Recognition

John Newbery Medal Winner
Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner
Indiebound Bestseller
New York Times Bestseller List
Cyblis Award

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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