Cover image for Josephine : the dazzling life of Josephine Baker
Title:
Josephine : the dazzling life of Josephine Baker
Author:
Powell, Patricia Hruby, 1951-
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Chronicle Books, [2014]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Summary:
A portrait of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine's powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
790 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.6 1.0 160655.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.2 4 Quiz: 61378.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
ISBN:
9781452103143
Format :
Book

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GV1785.B3 P68 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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GV1785.B3 P68 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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GV1785.B3 P68 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Black History
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GV1785.B3 P68 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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GV1785.B3 P68 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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GV1785.B3 P68 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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GV1785.B3 P68 2014 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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On Order

Summary

Summary

Coretta Scott King Book Award, Illustrator, Honor
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, Honor
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Nonfiction Honor
Parent's Choice Award
Wall Street Journal's 10 Best Children's Books of the Year List
Bologna Ragazzi Nonfiction Honor 2014

In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine's powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.


Author Notes

Patricia Hruby Powell danced throughout the Americas and Europe with her dance company, One Plus One, before becoming a writer of children's books. She lives in Champaign, Illinois.

Christian Robinson, formerly at Pixar Studios and Sesame Street Workshop, lives in San Francisco.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

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.--Anderson, Erin Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Segregated American clubs were willing to let African-American dancer Josephine Baker (1906-1975) perform, but they wouldn't let her use the front door. Powell (Frog Brings Rain) chooses a potent metaphor for Baker's hidden anger: "hot magma, molten lava, trapped within." When Baker arrived in France, the country embraced both her artistry and her blackness, and "Her deep volcanic core-filled with emotion, filled with music-erupted." Robinson (Rain!) draws round faces gazing with amazement at the woman onstage whose pearl necklace flies one way and whose hips swing the other. Baker's entire life spreads out in this tapestry of words, from a St. Louis childhood surrounded by music to her triumphs all over Europe-followed, sadly, by debt and illness. Robinson's naif, folk-style figures look like puppets, and make some grim moments easier to endure ("Those ugly rumors incited some white folks/ to beat, murder, and burn black East St. Louis"). Although Powell's focus is on Baker, the contrast between segregated America and welcoming France will not be lost on readers. Ages 7-10. Author's agent: Anna Olswanger, Liza Dawson Associates. Illustrator's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-Born into the slums of St. Louis in 1906, Josephine Baker had dance in her soul. From an early age, she was happiest when performing in front of an appreciative audience. Because of her race, she was often relegated to dressing the dancers, but Josephine worked hard and learned all the dance moves, just in case. When she got the chance to perform on stage, she took it, eventually catching the eye of a benefactor who invited her to perform in Paris, where she stepped into the spotlight and became a star across Europe. Through her bold performances and natural fearlessness, she ultimately pushed through the boundaries of segregation in America to become an international performing star. The unadorned narration of the blank verse text is lovely and vibrant as performed by veteran actress Lizan Mitchell. Her voice is full of the same energy and verve Josephine embodied. The text is mostly narrative and no dialogue, sprinkled with occasional quotes from Josephine herself. Mitchell fluidly reads the lovely verse, "knees squeeze, now fly/arms scissor and splay," that captures Josephine's uninhibited nature so well.-Jennifer Verbrugge, State Library Services, Roseville, MN (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.