Vaunda Micheaux Nelson


VAUNDA MICHEAUX NELSON credits her passion for books to her late parents, who read to her and her siblings faithfully every night. Drawing stories from family as well as undertold black history, many of Vaunda’s books and have been recognized with awards and honors. She won the 2010 Coretta Scott King Author Award for Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal. Her young adult novel, No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller, received the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and a 2013 Coretta Scott King Author Honor. The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore won a 2016 Jane Addams Children’s Book Honor as well as a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for R. Gregory Christie’s illustrations. Her second book of Old West history, Let ‘Er Buck: George Fletcher, the People’s Champion, won a 2020 Western Writers of America Spur Award and a 2020 Will Rogers Medallion Book Award.
Vaunda’s latest title, Ready? Set. Birthday! (a Step-Into-Reading book from Random House) was selected as a 2022 Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Fiction for Younger Readers. The Pennsylvania native has been a children’s librarian, newspaper reporter, teacher, bookseller, and recreation specialist, and has served on the Newbery, Caldecott and Ezra Jack Keats awards committees. Retired from her library career, she continues to serve children and young adults through her writing. Vaunda lives in New Mexico with her husband, Drew.



This Step 2 early reader captures all the excitement and anticipation that every child experiences in the lead-up to their birthday!

Raymond likes to do everything fast! It’s almost his birthday and he can’t wait! He tries goes outside to play. He helps Papa wash the car. He even goes to bed early in hopes time will fly, but his birthday can’t come fast enough! Maybe his friend Roxy can help him enjoy the wait …and his special day, too! This sequel to Ready? Set. Raymond (which marked its 20th Anniversary in 2022!) will delight fans and new readers alike.

Step 2 Readers use basic vocabulary and short sentences to tell simple stories. They are perfect for children who recognize familiar words and can sound out new words with help.

Ready? Set. Birthday! (Raymond and Roxy) by Vaunda Miicheaux Nelson (author) and Derek Anderson (illustrator) - Random House Books for Young Readers