Born and raised in Baltimore City and the middle of five siblings, Amari gained an interest for reading and writing at the tender age of 4 after being introduced to his first Dr. Seuss book. The ability to read and rhyme sparked a creative cord in his young imagination. Amari was placed in the young and gifted elementary classes, graduated middle and high school with honors then left Baltimore to go and study English Writing/Fiction at the University of Pittsburgh.
Now an author of Enigma’s Child and two children’s books, Bruno The Morkie and The ElleRays series, Amari is not timid when it comes to starting conversations for establishing cultural appreciation without “political correctness”. As a former competitive figure skater and an original cast member of the first all African-American figure skating tour Ebony on Ice, (later renamed Soul Spectacular on Ice) Amari fearlessly shares his professional skating experiences of the scrutiny and judgment that drove his success in a predominately white sport and used that same knowledge to develop future world class athletes. Amari now resides in the DC metropolitan area where he works and coaches group and private lessons in his spare time when he’s not working on writing his next story.
Baltimore City native and the youngest of five siblings, Cherelle is all too familiar in wanting to escape the life within this reality. And as she grew, so did life’s challenges as she unexpectedly watched most of her “dreams” slowly turn into a harsh stereotypical reality. Working as an IT Professional, Cherelle strongly felt there was something missing in order for her to fulfill her true life's purpose. Becoming a divorced single mother of three revealed a strong fascination in unveiling true African history and finding answers within her own life’s truths. This new outlook on life helped her gain a valuable perspective on the importance of identity, self-knowledge and self-revelation and how valuable this would be to pass on to her children to equip them for the challenges of this world as young women of color.
In the struggle to grab a hold on life’s challenges while raising three young girls alone, and trying to protect them from most of it, her desire for wanting to design, create and shape not only her own destiny, but that of her daughters as well, grew stronger. Cherelle began to appreciate that the tough challenges she face are really just hidden badges of honor which gave her the will power to be strong for her daughters, who in return were the true force that kept her going. It was the intangible strength, beauty, and wisdom of her young daughters that would eventually bring about The Elle Rays!
Co-creator of The Elle Rays series Amari Yarbrough sits down with Don McCauley of The Authors Show to discuss the inspiration behind the series, how it will benefit early readers, and what's next to come. Click on the link below to listen in!