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Rock, Rosetta, Rock! Roll, Rosetta, Roll!

Presenting Sister Rosetta Tharpe,

the Godmother of Rock & Roll




(Harper Collins)

(pub.2.14.2023) 40 pages

Author: Tonya Bolden

Illustrator: R. Gregory Christie

Character: Sister Rosetta Tharpe


" Before there was Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Johnny Cash, there was Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

The godmother of rock & roll started as a little girl from Arkansas with music in her air, in her hair, in her bones, wiggling her toes. With a big guitar in hand and a big voice in her soul, she grew into a rock & roll trailblazer in a time when women were rarely seen rocking out. Her guitar picking was like nobody else’s!"

Tantalizing taste:

" And, man, didn't you play all kinds of ways.

Up on your toes!

Down on the floor!

Behind your back!




Jumping up onstage -

in high heels at that!

Hip-hugging your guitar.

Duckwalking it too!

You even rocked fans in the English rain.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe,

with all your

fiery-fierce-feisty picking and plucking,

you blazed a trail for a fast-paced,

hard-driving, gritty, gutsy sound that made

the electric guitar

a star.

A music called Rock & Roll."

And something more: Tonya Bolden, in the Author's Note explains: "After Rosetta died, for years a host of folks didn't know that she had ever existed, didn't know what a phenomenal, blow-'em-away talent she was.

But then, don't you know, the lady had a comeback - became a star again!...

In 2018 - more than forty years after her death - Sister Rosetta Tharpe was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in the category of Early Influences."


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