Lorenz Graham was one of the first African-American authors to write books for and about children and their universal experiences, regardless of race or ethnicity. Graham's early works were drawn from his time as a missionary in Liberia. Graham realized that mainstream ideas about Africa were stereotypical. This led Graham to write books that describe Africans realistically.
In his first major work, How God Fix Jonah, Graham retells beloved Bible stories using the lyrical idioms of West Africa. His next novels, Tales of Momolu and I, Momolu, follow the adventures of a young African boy named Momolu.
Among Graham's best known works is the Town Series. Starting with South Town, the first of four books, Graham chronicles the life of an African American youth as he journeys from adolescence to adulthood and experiences racism in the South and North starting in the 1950s. Graham's sensitive portrayal of his characters, showing how they led everyday lives, made him a pioneer in his field and earned him the title, "Dean of African American Literature."
Lorenz Graham’s books provide a clear and poignant view into the lives of African American teenagers. In his writings, he captures the experiences of African American youth, emphasizing that while environments differ, whether in the African interior, the urban ghetto, or suburbia, that “people are people.” This universal theme that all people are entitled to equal treatment is based on Graham’s religious and moral convictions