Empowering Young Girls: An Interview With Curlee Gurlee Author Atara Twersky

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Atara Twersky wrote Curlee Girlee for her daughter, but she soon realized that Curlee Girlee was a story for children everywhere. It’s a tale of one girl’s journey towards accepting that her unique, curly hair was not something to hate; it’s what made her special.

Read the interview with Atara below to how she came to write this story of empowerment and writing prompt examples. Be sure to check out a the Curlee Girlee Facebook page for more information!

What is the story & mission behind the creation of Curlee Girlee?  

Curlee Girlee was inspired by my own daughter, Ari, and her curly hair; its purpose was to not only empower her, but to empower girls of all ages to love what makes them different and value their unique beauty. It’s not just a book, it’s a movement, “creating confidence one CURL, one GIRL at a time.”

What’s an example of a lesson teachers can build off of Curlee Girlee?

Teachers and librarians can use Curlee Girlee as a prompt for character and literacy lessons. Students can create Buncees based off of prompts. Below are examples of some prompt ideas, along with an example of a student Buncee.

An element of Buncee’s mission is to empower students of all abilities to share their story. How does the power of sharing your story support self-confidence?  

My story is really my little girl’s story and it really is every girl’s story. We are all working to overcome differences, we all want to fit in, but what we need to learn is fitting it cannot be at all costs; sometimes being different, being unique has its own special strength and from that place of strength great achievements emerge and leaders are born.

How can schools empower students to embrace their uniqueness & individuality?  

Stories such as Curlee Girlee can be used as a teaching tool so that young girls can learn through the characters like Curlee Girlee in a fun, relatable way. Often with children the best way to teach them is through the voice and adventures of a character they can fall in love with and relate to. Teachers can have students write stories on Buncee or respond to writing prompts as part of character and literacy lessons. 

I see Curlee Girlee as a series where I will introduce Curlee Girlee friends and each will look different and have different struggles to overcome. Curlee Girlee and her friends will be a champion for students to embrace all unique traits whether it is their hair, their freckles. Perhaps they have dyslexia or they struggle with math, children should be taught that with work and determination their struggles are actually their strongest gifts and make really makes them special.

As a mom, what has been your favorite part of the Curlee Girlee journey?  

My favorite part of the Curlee Girlee journey was watching my child transform from a little girl who disliked her hair to a child that loves and embraces her hair and by extension everything about herself. The other day after we finished reading the book for the four thousandth time, she turned to me and said, “Mommy I am only like Curlee Girlee at the end of the book, not the beginning.” I said, “Why? What does that mean”? She said “I have always loved my hair, but Curlee Girlee only likes her hair at the end of the story.” I thought to myself, “I have accomplished everything that I set out to do. If I do not sell another book, I have done everything, because my child cannot recall a time when she did not like her hair.”

Who is your favorite Curlee Girlee character?

When I realized my child was going to have curly hair I looked around for a role model for her.  A beautiful, strong confident, character for her to like and relate to and look up to.  I could  not find any.  The princesses all had straight hair, Dora the Explorer had straight hair that’s when I realized I needed to create this character because changing the inner dialogue of young girls needs to begin at a very young age so that by the time they are old enough to realize they are different those differences will be a source of pride and self-love.

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Atara Twersky is an attorney and the mother of three young children.  She lives in Manhattan and on Long Island.  Atara was inspired by her own real-life Curlee Girlee to write this book, which she hopes will encourage all little girls to embrace their differences and feel beautiful exactly as they are.

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