BCBA Author Spotlight: Natasha Tarpley

From Natasha Tarpley’s first published adult book, Girl in the Mirror: Three Generations of Black Women in Motion, to her new middle-grade release, The Harlem Charade, three themes remain constant throughout all of her books—family, community, and identity. Tarpley is a versatile writer who can seamlessly connect with both young and mature readers perhaps because, at an early age, she loved words, books, and writing. Her mother, who is also a writer, noticed and nurtured her talent. By her early twenties, Tarpley had received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The collection of poetry that garnered the awards stemmed from her desire to “explore African American history and identity.” 

Her first and most well-known children’s book, I Love My Hair!, illuminates the essence of identity. A Publisher’s Weekly review expressed that “[I]n Tarpley’s gracefully told story, a young African American heroine celebrates her lovely head of hair as part of her heritage.” Bippity Bop Barbershop, the companion book to I Love My Hair!, was also well received. Tarpley has written several other children’s books including Selma Takes the Stage, which Tarpley’s publishing company Voonderbar! Books published. The Harlem Charade will be released on January 31st, and the video featured in this spotlight features a short review of the book by teacher Laura Haney. To learn more about Natasha Tarpley, see the “Sources and Additional Reading” link below.

I think it is VERY important for parents and educators to model and reinforce the importance of reading and writing—and also the pleasures of these things.

Natasha Tarpley

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