Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Becoming Billie Holiday
Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2008. BECOMING BILLIE HOLIDAY. Ill. by Floyd Cooper. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. ISBN 159078507X [Suggested Grade Levels 5–10]
Carole Boston Weatherford has created a “fictional verse memoir” in her new biographical work, BECOMING BILLIE HOLIDAY. She profiles the famous jazz singer from her neglected childhood to the slow blossoming of her talent. The poems channel Holiday’s love of music with each poem borrowing its title from one of her songs. We get a glimpse of Holiday’s history, as well as music history. We also see the lonely, but spunky girl grow into her own talented womanhood.
Illustrator Floyd Cooper creates heavily textured portraits and scenes in sepia tones that flow seamlessly into the verse. Subtlety is key in this marriage of poetry and pictures, and both author and artist contribute to this delicate balance.
The author has a tremendous variety of teaching resources for this book at http://www.caroleweatherford.com with an independent Web site set up for this book alone at http://www.becomingbillieholiday.com. You’ll find a Reading Guide, Event Planning Guide, and even video book trailer (also available on YouTube). Use any of these resources to stimulate and support children’s responses.
Other similar poetry books about jazz and music:
Adoff, Jaime. SONG SHOOTS OUT OF MY MOUTH; A CELEBRATION OF MUSIC. ISBN 0525469494
Myers, Walter Dean. BLUES JOURNEY. ISBN 1595194282
Myers, Walter Dean. JAZZ. ISBN 0823421732
Weatherford, Carole Boston. BEFORE JOHN WAS A JAZZ GIANT: A SONG OF JOHN COLTRANE. ISBN 0805079947
By Sylvia M. Vardell