Tar Beach

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold cover, a family eating at a table on a roof

Tar Beach

Written and illustrated by Faith Ringgold

New York, Crown Publishers, Inc., 1991

9.35" x 12.5"

Kerlan Collection, Children's Literature Research Collections

University of Minnesota Libraries

The title of this book, which is set in the 1930s Harlem of the artist's childhood, refers to the tar-covered tenement rooftops where neighborhood residents traditionally gathered in search of relief from the summer heat. The illustrations derive from Ringgold's monumental story quilt of the same name. Wiry eight-year-old Cassie Louise Lightfoot imagines herself being lifted by the stars and soaring high above the city's sweltering streets and the bejeweled George Washington Bridge. Images of flight have deep roots in African American folklore, originally as a metaphor for release from the oppression of slavery.


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