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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
2007 Caldecott Honor book I SET THE NORTH STAR IN THE HEAVENS AND I MEAN FOR YOU TO BE FREE . . . 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. But she was never alone. 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.
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.
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