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Little Rosetta and the Talking Guitar

Little Rosetta and the Talking Guitar

The Musical Story of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Woman Who Invented Rock and Roll

Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
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A picture-book biography of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the woman who invented rock and roll—a warm, inspiring tale of a childhood filled with music, community, and a drive to succeed.

"Music is the heart of our story," says Momma to young Rosetta, surprising her with her first guitar. Rosetta's strums sound like 
ker-plunks. But with practice and determination, she makes music, fingers hopping "like corn in a kettle," notes pouring over the church crowd "like summer rain washing the dust off a new day."

In this stunning picture book, author and illustrator Charnelle Pinkney Barlow imagines the childhood of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, whose rural roots inspired the music we still hear today.

Young readers will see a child's dream become reality through hard work and perseverance. And they'll learn the overlooked story of a pioneering Black artist, whose contribution to music history is only now being discovered.


Charnelle Pinkney Barlow received her BFA in illustration from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and her MFA in the Illustration as Visual Essay program from the School of Visual Arts, New York. Charnelle’s children's book illustrations include Everything in Its Place, The Real Santa, and Remember to Dream, Ebere. Charnelle lives in Indianapolis with her husband. When she's not drawing, she is baking, sewing, or reading with a cup of tea by her side. Find her online at, and follow her on Instagram at @callmechartreuse.


  • Publisher: ‎Doubleday Books for Young Readers (February 28, 2023)
  • Language: ‎English
  • Hardcover: ‎40 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎0593571061
  • ISBN-13: ‎9780593571064
  • Reading age: ‎3 - 7 years
  • Grade level: ‎Preschool - 2
  • Item Weight: ‎1.25 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎0.04 x 0.04 x 0.04 inche
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