The Author: Takisha Payne
The Book: Bitsy Bop Hold Your Head Up High
The Genre: Children’s literature
Lives In: Manassas
The Story: Every parent knows the heartbreak that comes with watching their child fail. In this follow-up to her first book, Bitsy Bop Wants to Hippity Hop, Takisha Payne explores what kids go through when their dream remains just out of reach. In this case, 10-year-old Bitsy Bop enters a reality television contest, Kids on the Groove, but—spoiler alert!—she doesn’t win. Payne, a mother of three grown boys, says the important lesson for her bold and adventurous main character is that you should never give up. “The message is to hold on and keep your head up; keep going because sometimes you don’t win,” she says. “Even though you fall down, get right back up. Dust yourself off and get right back up again.”
NoVA Connections: Considering Payne has lived in Northern Virginia her whole life, there’s not much about Bitsy Bop that’s not inspired by the area. During her time living in Warrenton, Annandale, Centreville, and Manassas, Payne says she grew to believe strongly that you can never abandon your dreams. In fact, as an accounting assistant for a government contracting agency, being a full-time children’s-book author is the dream that Payne refuses to give up on. “I’ve always written things down, little stories, little poems, inspirational things, stuff like that,” she says. “But about 10 years ago, the story just came to me, and I just started writing, and I haven’t stopped. I have a couple of others I’ve written, but they’re not published yet.” The multitalented Payne, who also wrote a theme song for Bitsy Bop called “You Matter the Most,” revealed that she has something brewing for this spring that she’s not ready to share just yet. “It’s not going to be Bitsy Bop, but it’s going to be her friends,” she says. “So we have a lot of stuff in the works coming up. I’m so excited.”
This story originally ran in our April issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.