author portrait

Tonya Bolden

“I hope my readers leave my books with a greater love for reading and knowledge-seeking, and also as stronger thinkers, with a more vigorous curiosity.”—Tonya Bolden

Tonya Bolden is the editor of 33 Things Every Girl Should Know, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.


As a child I absolutely adored books. I loved the journeys they allowed, what they taught me about the world, how they gave my imagination a workout. The physicality of the book, I loved that too. Still do. As a child I wrote poems and stories just because. As a teen I wrote reams of poetry. In my student life, when it came to papers, writing was never the agony for me that it was for many of my classmates.

“Writing is rewarding on several counts. There’s the learning: As all the books I write require research, I am constantly learning. There’s the clarifying: Through writing I come to terms with and gain insights on my own experience and sensibilities, along with the historical events that have shaped me. On the unselfish level, it is through writing that I am able to teach.

“When as a child I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, most often my response was ‘teacher.’ When I went to graduate school (Columbia University), it was with the idea that I would become a college professor. While there I took a few courses at Teachers College because for a minute I thought perhaps I’d become an elementary or secondary school teacher. In the end, I decided to pursue writing instead. Now, when I look at what the majority of my books are about, I realize that I ended up being a teacher.”

For more information on Tonya Bolden, visit her Web site at


A Tribute to the Black Church

“Powerfully written and illustrated, this insightful portrait of an institution that might otherwise be overlooked is one you won’t want to miss.”—Starred, School Library Journal

“A book to read aloud in the classroom, at home, and in Sunday school.”—Starred, Booklist

Stories, Songs, Poems, and Smart Talk by 33 Extraordinary Women

“Adolescent girls (and many adult women) will find healthy doses of wisdom, humor, cheerleading and inspiration in these 33 works.”—Publishers Weekly

From Suffragettes to Skirt Lengths to the E.R.A.

“The tone throughout is positive and informative, empowering teens with neglected facts about and contributions of women to the history of the United States.”—School Library Journal


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