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Before There Was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George

by James E. Ransome Lesa Cline-Ransome

The musical superstar of 18th-century France was Joseph Boulogne--a black man. This inspiring story tells how Joseph, the only child of a black slave and her white master, becomes "the most accomplished man in Europe." After traveling from his native West Indies to study music in Paris, young Joseph is taunted about his skin color. Despite his classmates' cruel words, he continues to devote himself to his violin, eventually becoming conductor of a whole orchestra. Joseph begins composing his own operas, which everyone acknowledges to be magnifique. But will he ever reach his dream of performing for the king and queen of France? This lushly illustrated book by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome introduces us to a talented musician and an overlooked figure in black history.

My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle's Journey To Ailey

by Lesa Cline-Ransome

A boy discovers his passion for dance and becomes a modern hero in this inspiring picture book biography of Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. When Robert Battle was a boy wearing leg braces, he never dreamed he'd study at Juilliard. Though most dancers begin training at an early age, it wasn't until Robert was a teenager that his appreciation for movement--first from martial arts, then for ballet--became his passion. But support from his family and teachers paired with his desire and determination made it possible for Robert to excel. After years of hard work, the young man who was so inspired by a performance of Alvin Ailey's Revelations became the artistic director of the very company that motivated him. Today, under Robert's leadership, Alvin Ailey continues to represent the African American spirit through dance. Featuring illustrations brimming with vibrant color and swirling motion, this biographical picture book from husband-and-wife team James Ransome and Lisa Cline-Ransome includes a foreword from Robert Battle himself as well as a bibliography, suggested further reading, and an author's note. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was founded in 1958 by choreographer Alvin Ailey. He envisioned a company dedicated to enriching the American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience. When Mr. Ailey began creating dances, he drew upon his "blood memories" of his home state of Texas, the blues, spirituals, and gospel inspiration, which resulted in the creation of his most popular and critically acclaimed work, Revelations. Since its founding, the company has performed in seventy-one countries on six continents. It's repertory includes works by Mr. Ailey and ninety other choreographers, and new works are commissioned each year. Judith Jamison succeeded Mr. Ailey as artistic director, and in 2011, she selected Robert Battle to be her successor. Learn more at AlvinAiley. org.

Young Pele

by Lesa Cline-Ransome James Ransome

HOW DID A POOR BOY named Edson--who kicked rocks down roads and dribbled balls made from rags--go on to become Pelé, the greatest soccer player of all time? While other kids memorized letters, Edson memorized the scores of soccer matches. And when Edson finally played in a youth soccer tournament in the town of Bauru, Brazil, he focused on only one thing from the moment the whistle blew: the goal. Here is the picture book biography of the boy who overcame tremendous odds to become the world champion soccer star Pelé.From the Hardcover edition.

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