Stacey Abrams’ Parents Taught Her the Joy of Reading and Writing

Stacey Abrams’ parents raised the Georgia gubernatorial candidate to be an avid reader and writer. Learn more about Robert and Carolyn Abrams.

Dan Clarendon - Author

Jan. 14 2022, Published 1:56 p.m. ET

Stacey Abrams
Source: Getty Images

As if her political career weren’t impressive enough, Stacey Abrams is also a published author with titles that span nonfiction, romance, and now—with her new book Stacey’s Extraordinary Words—children’s lit.

Abrams credits her genre-spanning interests to her parents. “Neither of my parents ever tried to limit what we read. … There wasn’t a ‘You should read this kind of book’ or ‘Stay away from this type of story.’ It was more go and learn, go explore and share what you find,” she tells People.

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“That cultivated me this very deep appreciation for a broad range of writing, so part of what happened for me is I write in multiple genres,” Abrams adds. “It is about learning how it works and being respectful of the type of writing that’s required. What my parents really taught us to believe is that it’s the joy that it brings. It’s the ability to be transported, but it’s also the responsibility to be respectful of the stories and the listener that makes the best writing.”

Stacey Abrams’ father, Robert Abrams, “knew from a very young age” that she would be special.

Robert and Carolyn Abrams, Abrams' father and mother, are now retired, but they both worked as United Methodist Church ministers and both have master’s degrees in divinity from Atlanta’s Candler School. The couple, who also attended the HBCU Tougaloo College together, welcomed five other children in the span of a dozen years—Andrea, Leslie, Richard, Walter, and Jeanine.

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Robert and Carolyn raised their children to value public service. “My mom raised me, and we were really, really poor,” Robert, who worked in prison outreach, told The Washington Post in 2020. “But in our family, anything you do, you do it to benefit others.”

Robert saw Abrams' potential early on, long before she announced her Georgia gubernatorial bid and mobilized the state’s voters. “I knew from a very young age that Stacey would be special,” he told the Mississippi Clarion Ledger last year. “Throughout her childhood in Mississippi, I watched a young girl grow into a leader dedicated to service.”

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Carolyn Abrams taught her children that there’s “no limit” to their potential.

Carolyn gave birth to Abrams while the family lived in Madison, Wis., where Abrams was earning her master’s degree in library science from the University of Wisconsin. She later worked as a librarian in Gulfport, Miss., and Abrams inherited her interest in books.

“She preferred reading to playing outside,” Carolyn told the Clarion Ledger. “The kids called her a walking encyclopedia. She always preferred reading to outdoor play, and she’s always cared about people. This led, I believe, to her wanting to become governor because this is an area where she can really effect some change.”

Talking to the Post, Carolyn said that she “just always believed I can do anything anybody else could do, that there was no limit. And we taught our children the same thing.”


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