The Delany Sisters Reach High

By Amy Hill Hearth

The Delany Sisters Reach High

40 pp., 8 x 8

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7969-3
    Published: December 2023

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Distributed for UNC Charlotte Gerontology Program

Based on The New York Times bestseller Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years

Sarah Louise Delany was born September 19, 1889; she was a calm, gentle child her family called “Sweet Sadie.” Her little sister, Annie Elizabeth, was born two years later, on September 3, 1891. Bessie was Just the opposite of Sadie. She was so bossy that she was called “Queen Bess.”

The sisters had eight brothers and sisters. They grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, on the campus of Saint Augstine’s College. Their mother was a teacher, and their father was a minister and vice-principal of the school.

This is the story of the childhood of these two fascinating women who grew up in a time of change when life was often not easy for African Americans. Both their parents encouraged their children to “reach high”: to work hard in school and to aim for the stars. And reach high they did. Sadie became the first Black person to teach domestic science on the high school level in New York City, and Bessie earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and was the second Black woman licensed to practice dentistry in the city of New York.

Children and adults alike will enjoy this story that gives us a look at our history and provides inspiration to all those who read it.

About the Authors

Amy Hill Hearth is co-author with the late Sadie and Bessie Delany of the beloved Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years; The Delany Sisters’ Book of Everyday Wisdom; and, with Sadie Delany after Bessie Delany’s death, the critically acclaimed On My Own at 107: Reflections on Life Without Bessie. Hearth was instrumental in adapting Having Our Say into a Tony-nominated Broadway stage production and a CBS movie that won a George Foster Peabody Award. She has been a newspaper reporter and a regular contributor of news and feature articles to The New York Times. She lives in New Jersey. Read more at
For more information about Amy Hill Hearth, visit the Author Page.

Tim Ladwig has illustrated a growing list of award-winning books for children, including Psalm Twenty-three, The Lord’s Prayer, Morning has Broken, Silent Night: The Song and its Story, and Nikki Grimes’s When Daddy Prays. Tim and his family live in Wichita, Kansas.
For more information about Tim Ladwig, visit the Author Page.


“With this book, Hearth has added a significant title to the spectrum of children's literature.”—The Christian Science Monitor

“[Tim Ladwig's illustrations are] sunlit, golden, paradisiacal.”—The Washington Post

“A wonderful biography [which] will delight readers with educational but fun information. [Reading it] can make you a better person.”—The Dallas Morning News (reviewed by a fifth grade girl)

“Hearth is an evocative writer with an appealing, direct style.”—Asbury Park Press (New Jersey)

“Inspiring reading for today's kids.”—The Orange County Register (California)