Janet McDonald, author of novels for young adults, died of cancer on April 11, 2007. She was just 53 years old. Her books include Project Girl, Spellbound, Twists and Turns, and Brother Hood, among others.
Shamefully, I have found no obituaries, tributes, or remembrances on-line as of yet. (A colleague posted the news on a list_serv to which I subscribe.) McDonald's books gave voice to the many children and teens growing up in the housing projects -- usually forgotten, dismissed, and ignored. She illumintaed thier existence, their hopes, their dreams, and showed the world they aren't really all that different from any other kids. I know that she touched many of the kids I have had the honor of working with over the years.