Guest Post: Author Danielle Joseph talks about her new PB, I Want to Ride the Tap Tap

I thought I would answer a few of the questions that I’ve received from students during Zoom school visits. Kids always ask the best questions.

1) How did you get the idea for the book?

I got my first car when I was born. A friend of my dad’s made me a wooden dump truck. I still have that truck and have always loved different types of transportation. My husband is from Haiti and the first time we went to visit the beautiful island, I fell in love with the stunning tap tap buses! They are so colorful and each one tells a different story!

2) Why is it called a tap tap?

It’s called a tap tap because when riders want to get off, they take a coin and tap tap it against their seat. This signals to the driver that they’d like to get off.

3) Have you ever seen a tap tap?

Yes, I’ve seen many! The illustrator of the book, Olivier took me on a tap tap tour. We had so much fun going around the city!

(Left: a photo of me and Olivier, the illustrator, in front of a tap tap in Haiti.)

4) How old do you have to be to write a book?

Any age! I wrote my first book in first grade with my teacher Mrs. Peterson. I still have those first books! And yes, it does seem like I keep everything but I had a lot of different things that inspired me when I was a kid.

5) What is another type of cool transportation that you have ridden on?

I love the double decker buses in London. I always want to ride upstairs and one of my very favorite trips has been up Table Mountain in South Africa on a cable car. I was born in South Africa and it is so thrilling to see the view from the very top of the mountain!

Bon bagay! Thanks for having me!

About the book:

Writer Danielle Joseph and illustrator Olivier Ganthier’s I Want to Ride the Tap Tap is a day-of-the-week picture book about a Black family who ride the taxi-bus service—called a tap tap—in Haiti, and the fascinating people they meet along the way, illustrated by a Haitian artist known for his vibrant street art.

Monday through Saturday, Claude and Manman walk Papa to the tap tap stop, where Claude meets all sorts of interesting people waiting for the tap tap. Claude wants to join Papa, but Claude has classes at school and chores at home…

On Sunday, Manman and Papa have a surprise for Claude—a ride on the tap tap! They go to the beach, where they meet a lady selling mangoes, a fisherman, a straw-hat maker, a steel drummer, and an artist. They show Claude how to fish, make hats, play the drums, and paint.

With Haitian Creole words sprinkled throughout and a glossary at the end, I Want to Ride the Tap Tap is a warm and lively portrayal of everyday life in Haiti.

About the author: Danielle Joseph is the author of the young adult novels Shrinking Violet, Indigo Blues and Pure Red. When she’s not writing, you can find Danielle relaxing with her family, traveling, or chasing after her dog, Ringo. Danielle was born in Cape Town, South Africa and currently lives in Maryland with her husband, who is from Haiti, and their three kids.

Connect with Danielle:

About the illustrator: Olivier Ganthier was born in Pétion-ville, Haiti. He got his degree in fine arts from the National School of Arts (ENARTS) and is inspired by tropical urban life, Afro and Haitian culture. Olivier is art director at Les Ateliers Ganthier and lives in Petionville, Haiti.

Connect with Olivier:

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