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January 27, 2023

Teal’s latest book is a children’s title about a tree that stands next to the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. The Tree That Told a Tale not only narrates the bombing of the church in 1963 by members of the Ku Klux Klan but also conveys factual information about trees.

Why did you choose this subject matter for a children’s book?

I’m interested in encouraging children to learn more about Black history and Black historical events. I also know that when children become interested in these types of events, their interest is piqued and they begin to seek out other things of historical significance.

Why or how do you think The Tree That Told a Tale is particularly relevant now?

I think it is particularly relevant now because we are nearing Black History Month and also because children generally need to know more about trees. They need to know that a tree does not reach its most productive stage of carbon storage for about 10 years, and other such important facts. I hope the book will encourage them to research some of the trees in their environments and learn more about them.

What research did you do to ensure historical accuracy?

My research allowed me to include general facts about trees, which I’ve included at the back of the book. I also conducted research to make sure that the historical facts I included are accurate.

What responsibility do you think authors have when reimagining people or events that have actually happened?

I think authors have the responsibility to report accurately when reimagining people or events that have actually happened.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I am not working on a book.