In a series of free-verse poems and bluesy lyrics, headed by song titles, Weatherford retraces Holiday's childhood and early career in the renowned jazz singer's own voice. "At eleven, I had the body / of a grown woman, / the mouth of a sailor, and a temper / hot enough to fry an egg." Growing up in Baltimore, she moved to Harlem with her sometimes-absent mother after being molested by a neighbor, and quickly fell in love with late-night life. Dubbed "Lady Day," she earned money singing in clubs, was "discovered" by jazz-enthusiast John Hammond, and battled racism on a groundbreaking tour with Artie Shaw's all-white band. Closing with Holiday's spectacular headline gig at the Café Society, where she sang "Strange Fruit"--"how could I not claim: / this is my song?"--Weatherford leaves the 25-year-old at a high spot in her career, before later troubles and drug addiction. After the whole story readers will find a generous assortment of recommended reading and listening at the end of this proud, clear-voiced testimonial. Grades 6-9. --John Peters
Before the legend of Billie Holiday, there was a girl named Eleanora. In 1915, Sadie Fagan gave birth to a daughter she named Eleanora. The world, however, would know her as Billie Holiday, possibly the greatest jazz singer of all time. Eleanora's journey into legend took her through pain, poverty, and run-ins with the law. By the time she was fifteen, she knew she possessed something that could possibly change her life--a voice. Eleanora could sing. Her remarkable voice led her to a place in the spotlight with some of the era's hottest big bands. Billie Holiday sang as if she had lived each lyric, and in many ways she had. Through a sequence of raw and poignant poems, award-winning poet Carole Boston Weatherford chronicles Eleanora Fagan's metamorphosis into Billie Holiday. The author examines the singer's young life, her fight for survival, and the dream she pursued with passion in this Coretta Scott King Author Honor winner. With stunning art by Floyd Cooper, this book provides a revealing look at a cultural icon.
This book is an emotional tribute to the four girls killed due to the explosion at the baptist church of Birmingham and all those who worked for the Civil Rights Movement, fighting against cruelty, inequality and horror.
A stunning picture-book biography of iconic African American opera star Leontyne Price. Born in a small town in Mississippi in 1927, the daughter of a midwife and a sawmill worker, Leontyne Price might have grown up singing the blues. But Leontyne had big dreams--and plenty to be thankful for--as she surrounded herself with church hymns and hallelujahs, soaked up opera arias on the radio, and watched the great Marian Anderson grace the stage. While racism made it unlikely that a poor black girl from the South would pursue an opera career, Leontyne's wondrous voice and unconquerable spirit prevailed. Bursting through the door Marian had cracked open, Leontyne was soon recognized and celebrated for her leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera and around the world--most notably as the majestic Ethiopian princess in Aida, the part she felt she was born to sing.From award-winners Carole Boston Weatherford and Raul Colón comes the story of a little girl from Mississippi who became a beloved star--one whose song soared on the breath of her ancestors and paved the way for those who followed.
2007 Caldecott Honor book<P><P> I SET THE NORTH STAR IN THE HEAVENS AND I MEAN FOR YOU TO BE FREE . . .<P> Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman hears these words from God one summer night and decides to leave her husband and family behind and escape. Taking with her only her faith, she must creep through the woods with hounds at her feet, sleep for days in a potato hole, and trust people who could have easily turned her in.<P> But she was never alone.<P> In lyrical text, Carole Boston Weatherford describes Tubman's spiritual journey as she hears the voice of God guiding her north to freedom on that very first trip to escape the brutal practice of forced servitude. Tubman would make nineteen subsequent trips back south, never being caught, but none as profound as this first one. Courageous, compassionate, and deeply religious, Harriet Tubman, with her bravery and relentless pursuit of freedom, is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.<P>Winner of the Coretta Scott King Medal
The first six years in the life of the world's most popular talk show host and how she overcame adversity to believe in her dreams.
Award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford's innovative history in verse celebrates the story of the Tuskegee Airmen: pioneering African-American pilots who triumphed in the skies and past the color barrier.I WANT YOU! says the poster of Uncle Sam. But if you're a young black man in 1940, he doesn't want you in the cockpit of a war plane. Yet you are determined not to let that stop your dream of flying. So when you hear of a civilian pilot training program at Tuskegee Institute, you leap at the chance. Soon you are learning engineering and mechanics, how to communicate in code, how to read a map. At last the day you've longed for is here: you are flying! From training days in Alabama to combat on the front lines in Europe, this is the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the groundbreaking African-American pilots of World War II. In vibrant second-person poems, Carole Boston Weatherford teams up for the first time with her son, artist Jeffery Weatherford, in a powerful and inspiring book that allows readers to fly, too.
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