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Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten Hardcover – January 16, 2018
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"A strong picture-book biography profiling a notable African American musician and songwriter."- Booklist
"[An] inspiring love song to an American talent who always kept rolling."-- Shelf Awareness
"What a wonderful tribute to an amazing and talented woman."-Laura Vaccaro Seeger, author of the Caldecott honor-winning books Green and First the Egg
"This is a beautiful book for late bloomers." -- Bookish
"The message of never giving up on a dream, no matter the circumstances, will resonate deeply with readers."-School Library Journal, starred review
"Tells Cotten's story with simple, poetic language and lovely, subdued pencil drawings."-- GeekDad
"Singer-songwriter Laura Veirs and up-and-coming illustrator Tatyana Fazlalizadeh illuminate the life of influential American folk musician Elizabeth Cotten."-- Real Simple
"Lovely and inspiring." --Cool Mom Picks
"Fazlalizadeh's art . . . complements Veirs's unpretentious prose exquisitely, and the interplay between the two is seamless. . . . Should inspire young readers starting to pursue their own creative talents as well as the adults who share the book with them." -The Horn Book Magazine
"Elegant and moving."-Publishers Weekly, starred review
About the Author
Laura Veirs is a singer-songwriter and longtime fan of Elizabeth Cotten. This is her first picture book. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is based in Brooklyn, New York, and is an artist and activist. This is her first picture book.
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Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten
By Laura Veirs; Illustrated by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
✨“Libba heard Music Everywhere” is the opening line of this memorable picture book biography that tells us the remarkable story of renowned African American songwriter and musician, Libba Cotten. Libba picked up her brother’s guitar, played it upside down and composed the well known folk song “Freight Train” before she was eleven years old! Unfortunately, life got in the way and Libba stopped playing. She became a wife, a mother and finally a housekeeper for Pete and Ruth Crawford Seeger. She was a hard worker and did an amazing job, but all the while she was cleaning, cooking and caring for the children, she was listening. And what she heard were musicians like Woody Guthrie and Muddy Waters. Until one day, she HAD to pick up a guitar and play. With the Seegers help and support, Libba began to play in public and soon was known the world over.
I love reading picture biographies and this is a special one. I learn about so many people who have made important contributions to our world and deserve to be remembered and appreciated. I was fascinated to learn the story of Libba Cotten, a truly amazing musician I wasn’t familiar with before I read Laura Veirs’ biography. The muted illustrations provide a gentle view of Libba’s world from the time she was a child through her performances the world over in the theatres of New York, London and Rome. They help us to understand Libba’s determination, her kindness and her love of music. This is a picture book biography that definitely needs to find a space on the shelves of elementary school collections.