Sunday, February 2, 2014

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker - inspiring & beautiful biography (ages 8-11)

Dazzling. Exuberant. Full of life.

These words certainly describe Josephine Baker, but they also describe the beautiful biography that Patricia Hruby Powell & Christian Robinson have just created celebrating Baker's life and work. This is a unique picture book biography, presenting Baker's life in poetic text that hums with rhythm, spread across over 100 pages.
The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
by Patricia Hruby Powell
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Chronicle, 2014
ages 8 - 11
your local library
*best new book*
Powell tells the story of Josephine Baker's determined rise from poverty to stardom with energy and verve that suits the subject matter. Her free verse poetry creates a driving rhythm that propels the reader along.
born poor,
out of wedlock
in honky-tonk town--
SAINT LOUIS, Missouri ...
home of
raggedy black music
life-my-soul music--
GOLDEN-AGE music."
Christian Robinson captures Josephine's movement and playfulness with his gorgeous acrylic illustrations. Just take a look at this trailer that Robinson created and see how the illustrations, music and story all blend together:

I keep thinking about the way the words and pictures in this story go together. Each element complements the other, adding more to the total package. Please take a look at the "peek inside" over at the Chronicle Books website to get a feeling for the wonderful design, illustrations and text in this book.

I sense that this book is perfect for an eight to ten year old, especially one who's interested in gutsy, determined individuals who won't give up on a dream.

Josephine is much longer than the typical picture book biography, and the design makes it better suited to savor over time than in one straight shot.

Students at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Berkeley are incredibly lucky--Christian Robinson and Patricia Hruby Powell will be visiting their school this week to share about their creative process. I am just thrilled. What a terrific way for these students and teachers to start off celebrating Black History Month! Many thanks to Books, Inc. and Chronicle Books for bringing these artists to our schools.

Do you love sharing nonfiction with kids? Check out the Nonfiction Monday Blog, with posts every Monday from around the country.

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Chronicle Books. The illustrations are copyright ©2014 Christian Robinson, shared with permission of the publishers. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

1 comment:

  1. I will definitely be checking this book out. Thanks for telling me about it.