My Writing

My brain has more ideas than there are minutes in a day. But most of the snippets and characters I can capture on my phone, a scrape of paper, a gum wrapper, used napkin, or any empty inch of a plane or train ticket find their way into my heart. And at some point these ideas and personalities find there way into evolving stories and onto a page (typed or handwritten depending on the hour and what’s nearby).

I have piles of tales—some completed, though many in early stages. But here is one I’m thrilled to share:

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ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Summer 2017
Middle Grade

In a story laced with magical realism, recently orphaned Mor Fall and his two younger sisters must figure out their next steps in the world amidst bullying, and the threat of separation from their home and everything they know. Set in contemporary Senegal, One Shadow on the Wall focuses on family, unexpected friendships, courage, and creating your own future—even when it’s hard to do.

    Amazon     B&N    IndieBound     Goodreads

Bank Street “Best Books of 2017” starred for Outstanding Merit

 

Reviews

“To read Leah Henderson’s remarkable debut is to be utterly transported to a world that is at once mesmerizing, harrowing, and full of profound grace. Even as I rushed through this page-turner, I didn’t want it to end; I wanted to bask in its evocative language, and fell completely in love with its loyal, clever hero. Give this to book to anyone who has ever struggled to decide between doing what is right, and what easy – namely, everyone.”
– I.W. Gregorio, author of None of the Above

“In her debut, Henderson paints a detailed picture of life in Senegal. The author’s experience, research, and sensitivity shine, making this distinctive novel a valuable addition to the literature….A book that rewards patient, sensitive readers willing to dive in.”

– Kirkus Reviews, May 2017

“A poignant yet hopeful story of surviving the world through the power of promises.”
– Kathy Erskine, National Book Award winning author of Mockingbird

“Henderson creates a multifaceted portrayal of Senegalese village life. Senegalese vocabulary (presumably Wolof) peppered throughout enriches the text….A stirring tale”

– School Library Journal, June 2017

“Debut author Henderson’s depiction of Senegalese life is well researched and warm with affection….Mor’s drive to do right and his love for his family are unmistakable. Keep an eye on this author!”

– Booklist, May 2017

Discussion Questions & Activities

The Middle Grade @ Heart team created some wonderful discussion questions to accompany ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL as well as suggestions for fun activities. Check them out here.

 Glossary

 If you want to check your pronunciation, or see if you have the meaning of a word correct, here’s a helpful PDF:

OSOTW_GLOSSARY

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YA Anthology

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in AmericaBalzer & Bray/HaperCollins, Winter 2019
“Warning: Color May Fade”

Seventeen year-old Nivia Fenton, a Caswell Prep legacy, wonders if knocking a Caswell Prep royal off her pedestal, risking expulsion, tarnishing her family name, and possibly effecting her early admission decisions are all worth risking for the nagging weight of her dreams.