Josephine

  • Title: Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
  • Author: Patricia Hruby
  • Illustrator: Christian Robinson
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books
  • Publication year: 2014
  • Brief Summary: From Chronicle-“In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine’s powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – I have to admit I did not know of Josephine Baker until this class, our presentation on Robinson, and reading this book. So, I think it is important that a famous African American dancer and show-woman like Baker be taught in schools as a historical art figure ( with other modern and post modern dancers). I found this teacher’s guide from The Classroom Bookshelf (from The School Library Journal) that has helpful suggestions for teaching this book in the classroom, including examining picture book poetry, African American dancers, and diversity within entertainment (this could be used in a music or humanities class as well). There is a also a section referring to different films and videos on African Americans and France.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it – As always Robinson’s illustrations coexist with the text in a beautiful collaboration. I like the change in font between Josephine Baker’s quotes and the rest of the text. And I liked that in some moments of the text, to emphasize, the text is capitalized. Also, there is an author’s note, an illustrator’s note, a Bibliography, and sources for all the quotations used. I think this would make a great addition to any school library and I think for the reasons stated about this would be a great addition to the Best 50 list.

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