Writer, Educator, Children's Literature Specialist
Praise for All You Have to Do
"All You Have To Do is a tutorial in time. We don't simply travel through time here; we travel with time through the bending and breaking of power and tradition. Autumn Allen has created a book that counts its readers as its most important characters while examining how we fight for dignity in different, but very similar generations. Incredible art-making!"
-Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir, winner of the Andrew Carnegie medal for Excellence in Nonfiction
"Autumn Allen has offered a rare and refreshing glimpse into Black boyhood in elite schools on the precipice of two vital moments in American history. All You Have To Do is a profound and empathetic statement on the costs of striving for excellence against all odds. Allen is a writer to watch!"
-Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award Finalist
"All You Have To Do beautifully immerses the reader in the stories of two young Black student activists and their shared personal struggles that transcend decades. It is a stunning debut novel."
– Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped from the Beginning, winner of the National Book Award
"Via perceptive prose and immersive chapters that alternate between 1968 and 1995, Allen highlights two Black teens’ parallel struggles for racial justice, 27 years apart, in this powerful debut…The two boys’ efforts to balance their equity pursuits with interpersonal concerns, such as the importance of caring for oneself amid taxing mental challenges, are expertly rendered. Through Gibran and Kevin’s individual exploits of equality and accountability, fully fleshed-out characters, and skillfully cultivated narrative tension, Allen creates a layered debut that is timely and resonant."
“This intense debut novel connects two young Black men struggling for acceptance and equality. Allen expertly integrates historical civil rights figures and events into a character-driven narrative that communicates how it feels to be transformed by a powerful speech, to face violence, and to stand tall every day in the face of injustice and racism. She ends with a moment of triumphant unity in a struggle that continues.” – Booklist, starred review
“Allen constructs a vivid narrative that balances both timelines seamlessly and pointedly highlights often overlooked history. The crisp, succinct prose and fully realized characters make this a shining example of how principled research in lock step with exceptional writing creates an unforgettable reading experience. An electric debut: a must-read for all.” – Kirkus, starred review