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Hairiette of Harlem

An impatient seven year old with galactic hair (Hairiette!) goes on learning adventures with her friends Charlie the Comb and Barbara the Barrette!

Hairiette of Harlem is an educational system designed to increase literacy proficiency; the more kids read, the bigger Hairiette’s hair gets!

Hairiette of Harlem works with schools nationwide and includes books, TV, film, games and tech products all based around the story of Hairiette. Organizational psychologist Peg Neuhauser found that “a well-told story is remembered more accurately, and for far longer than learning derived from facts and figures.” (Harvard Busines.org). Children who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school than proficient readers. (Anne Casey Foundation, 2010).

In an effort to inspire, motivate and engage early learners, Hairiette of Harlem introduces ‘Goodnight, Hairiette,’ a 24 minute filed puppet musical that tells the story of 7 year old Hairiette’s sleepless night as she wanders into her grandmother’s room for a bedtime story. What unfolds is a timeless tale full of surprises about courage, community and the power and belief in being yourself. Goodnight, Hairiette includes an SEL/ literacy guide tied to standards for teachers, a word wall, coloring book and activity guide for kids. Schools, museums and libraries can even license the stage play and perform it to support fluency in young readers! Goodnight, Hairiette is the prequel to the Hairiette of Harlem Chapter Book Series (available September, 2024)

Hairiette of Harlem is created by two-time SAG Award winning actress Tanya Wright (Best Ensemble) for her portrayal of Crystal Burset in Orange is the New Black. In 2022, Tanya graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education (’22) with a degree in Learning Design, Innovation and Technology. While at Harvard, Tanya won the Harvard Innovative Venture in Education Award (HIVE) for most promising early stage venture and was an Education Entrepreneurship Fellow at the Harvard Innovation Lab.

Associated Members

Tanya Wright, Director

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We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors:

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Lowel Cultural Council
Cabot Family Charitable Trust
Liberty Mutual Foundation