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March 4, 2015

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Pick of the Day: Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

JosephinePowell, Patricia Hruby. Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker. illus. by Christian Robinson. 104p. bibliog. further reading. Chronicle. Feb. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781452103143. LC 2012030440.
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

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