James Ransome grew up in North Carolina. Lesa Cline-Ransome grew up in Massachusetts and the two met as students at Pratt Institute Brooklyn, New York.
James and Lesa collaborated on their first book together with a biography of Satchel Paige, an ALA Notable Book and a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year. They later created Quilt Alphabet, a collection of alphabet poems, the companion book, Quilt Counting, Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist, Young Pele: Soccer’s First Star, Helen Keller: The World in her Heart, and Before There Was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George. Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass received starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal and the NY Times called it, “Visceral, intimate and plainly told…”. James’ newest title is Joltin Joe DiMaggio, written by Jonah Winter and their newest collaborations are Light in the Darkness: A Story about How Slaves Learned in Secret and Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black and White Jazz Band in History.
James and Lesa’s books have received numerous honors and awards including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book for Picture Book, the Coretta Scott King award, Coretta Scott King Honor Award, two NAACP Awards, two Top 10 Sports Books for Youth, and the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance Award.