Barbara J. Belisle is a retired English teacher from the Shelby County, Alabama school system and works as the night manager in Circulation at the University of Montevallo. She serves as treasurer for the Shelby County Education Retirees’ Association on the board of the Montevallo Arts Council.
Born to a musically-inclined family, Barbara is a proud mother of three, grandmother of eight, and great-grandmother of six!
During her time as the first African American teacher at the all-white Thompson High School, Belisle faced adversity and alienation within the educational realm. Her children—who attended the school where she taught—were also presented with challenges stemming from racial bias. Belisle persevered and, thankfully for many of her students, continued to teach and write.
The author of an array of nonfiction, poetry, children’s and young adult works, Belisle’s repertoire includes: The Say and Duck Chronicles – Part I, Reaping Tenants, A Long Time Learning: The Story of Change in a Small Town, Where’s U’re, A Wish Away, and The Red Hills of Alabama.
In Geraldine Watts Bell’s Women of Uncommon Valor: Life Stories of Women from Birmingham, Alabama, Belisle notes; “I love being around young people. They inspire me.” Barbara Belisle’s mantra is, “Keep the Faith.”
Barbara J. Belisle's second children's book takes something as simple as the infamous red clay dirt of Alabama and leads us on a wonderful, nostalgic journey. The illustrations are simple, but the impact they make is deep and heartfelt for those of us acquainted with those endless summer days. The story follows Charlie, his little brother Davey, and their big sister Abby, on a typical, southern, summer day. Although this book is written for children, it will certainly resonate with an older generation. Mrs. Belisle's story could easily be about a day my grandad spent hunting crawdads in the creek, or even my own red-clay-stained adventures. Simply put, The Red Hills of Alabama is a story to which almost any Southerner can read and relate.Learn More