God Bless the Child

by Billie Holiday, Arthur, Jr. Herzog, and Jerry Pinkney

The lyrics to Billie Holiday’s 1939 jazz song might at first glance seem an... read more

The lyrics to Billie Holiday’s 1939 jazz song might at first glance seem an unlikely candidate for a picture book text. But in the capable hands of Jerry Pinkney, it all works beautifully. Pinkney has captured the spirit of the song with intricately detailed watercolor paintings depicting an African American family moving from the rural south to Chicago in the 1930s as part of the Great Migration. The central character is the family’s youngest child who’s “got his own” as a full participant in contributing to the family income with odd jobs, and ultimately by going to school and getting an education. A CD of the original recording of Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra performing the song is included, so that readers can have it in the background as they follow Pinkney’s intricately detailed visual story with their eyes. (Ages 6–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

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