Why did her classmate tape a transit pass to a jar of pickles in Jin's granparents' bodega? Why are there paintings buried in a community garden in Harlem? A group of kids band together to solve these mysteries and save their neighborhood from a gimmicky theme park.
WATCHER. SHADOW. FUGITIVE. Harlem is home to all kinds of kids. Jin sees life passing her by from the window of her family's bodega. Alex wants to help the needy one shelter at a time, but can't tell anyone who she really is. Elvin's living on Harlem's cold, lonely streets, surviving on his own after his grandfather was mysteriously attacked. When these three strangers join forces to find out what happened to Elvin's grandfather, their digging leads them to an enigmatic artist whose missing masterpieces are worth a fortune -- one that might save the neighborhood from development by an ambitious politician who wants to turn it into Harlem World, a ludicrous historic theme park. But if they don't find the paintings soon, nothing in their beloved neighborhood will ever be the same... In this remarkable tale of daring and danger, debut novelist Natasha Tarpley explores the way a community defines itself, the power of art to show truth, and what it really means to be home.
About the Author
Natasha Tarpley is the author of the bestselling picture book I Love My Hair! and other acclaimed titles for children and adults. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, among other awards. When she is not writing books, Ms. Tarpley can usually be found reading them. She has also taken up the cruel and unusual hobby of running marathons. Ms. Tarpley is the cofounder of Voonderbar! Media, a multicultural children's book publishing and media company. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.
* "A story that motivates justice and inspires kindness." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review * "Tarpley creates a strong sense of Harlem's rich past and present, conveys the importance of art, and raises thoughtful questions about service and justice." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review "The Harlem Charade links a multifaceted cast of characters with some of Harlem's thorniest issues, and offers dreams, hope, and plenty of action in the process. Few novels take on the real-life neighborhood issues of gentrification, big money, and the destructive loss of old ways. This book does, and in the process shines a light on the magical and complex history of Harlem and its many brilliant art forms. Tarpley shares Harlem's past and present glory with grace and respect, and in the process offers inspiration to all who would love to see its unique beauty survive." -- Blue Balliett, New York Times bestselling author of Chasing Vermeer and Hold Fast "Harlem itself tops the cast of unique and engaging characters that make The Harlem Charade a mystery that will have readers turning pages at lightning speed. It kept me guessing until the final twist!" -- Gordon Korman, bestselling author of Swindle and Slacker