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Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books) Hardcover – January 14, 2014
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—This charming biography invites readers to step inside the vibrant and spirited world of performer and civil rights advocate, Josephine Baker. Robinson's paintings are as colorful and rich as Josephine Baker's story, offering page after page of captivating and animated illustrations and rhythmic text, which is written in blank verse. In a few short and well-organized parts, readers learn the story of one of the world's most well known female performers who danced and sang her way from the poor and segregated streets of St. Louis to the dazzling stages of Paris all the way to Carnegie Hall. Text and illustrations work in tandem to accurately document Josephine's extraordinary life and the era in which she lived. Clear and lively descriptions of Josephine's story play out creatively in the text, introducing readers to basic principles of poetic structure in storytelling and offering an accurate portrait of a woman who fought for racial equality and civil rights through her life's passion: performance. Reluctant readers of nonfiction and poetry lovers alike will be drawn to this book's musical, theatrical nature, making for a fun, enriching, and holistic reading experience. This unique and creative work is a first purchase.—Natalie Braham, Denver Public Library
Josephine is a free-verse biographical poem that pulls its inspiration from the life of a fascinating performer and civil rights pioneer. Josephine Baker grew up in the shantytowns of St. Louis, often considered the home of ragtime music. At only 13, she left home to travel with a dance troupe, honing her silly on-stage persona and earning pennies. Through a series of unlikely but fortunate events, her talent was discovered and soon she was dancing the Charleston on a stage in Paris. While most of the milestones of her notorious career and turbulent life are included, Powell focuses on events that carried the most personal weight for Baker, such as almost losing her leg in a childhood accident, her refusal to dance in segregated American dance halls, and her first time on a transatlantic boat trip. Quotes from Baker punctuate the engaging narrative poem and Robinson’s gorgeous, colorful acrylics (with cute Lego-faced characters) honor the colorful exuberance of both the Jazz era and Baker’s life. Well researched and spirited, this features innumerable points of discussion for young readers. Grades 2-4. --Erin Anderson