She was born to Oscar Smith Herron and Georgia Carol (Johnson) Herron, in Washington D.C.
She is a founding member of "Jews of African Descent."
She has a BA in English from Eastern Baptist College in Pennsylvania (now Eastern University). She earned an M.A. in English from Villanova University in 1973, and an MFA in creative writing and a PhD in comparative literature and literary theory from the University of Pennsylvania.
Her debut novel, Thereafter Johnnie, a semi-autobiographical portrayal of African-American life, was critically well received.
Her critically acclaimed picture book Nappy Hair, a call and response story based on her own experiences as a child, was the cause of massive controversy when a New York City public school teacher was accused of racism after using it in the classroom.
Her latest children's book, Always an Olivia, recounts the coming of Herron's Jewish ancestors from Tripoli, Libya, to the Georgia Sea Islands in the Americas.
She also teaches children directly.
Her scholarship includes work on African-American Judaica. Her scholarship also includes work on children's literature, multicultural literature, and Star Trek. Herron is currently developing Epicenter Stories to assist in her work with children, literacy, and multiculturalism.
- Thereafter Johnnie, 1991
- Nappy Hair, 1997
- Always an Olivia, 2007
- Selected works of Angelina Weld Grimké, 1991
- *'Carolivia Herron.' Notable Black American Women, Book 3. Gale Group, 2002.
- Ghert-Zand, Renee (June 24, 2012). "Always a Jew, Always an Olivia". The Times of Israel.