Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

by Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson

Josephine Baker sought to live a life outside the color line, in a world where her... read more

Josephine Baker sought to live a life outside the color line, in a world where her superb talent and spirited, superior heart could triumph. She got her break in segregated Vaudeville and made it to the big time, but criticism grounded in the color of her skin was common. It wasn’t until she left the United States for Paris and other international cities that she found acceptance and freedom, although she still faced racist jeers at times. But she persevered, and lived her ideal, raising a “rainbow tribe” of international children. It was never easy, breaking down barriers, and she and her children struggled financially after her career had peaked. Her home country took the longest to accept her, but Josephine would eventually triumph in America, too. “At sixty-seven, she booked a performance at Carnegie Hall … the Carnegie crowd cheered till the tears came — theirs and hers.” Patricia Hruby Powell’s dynamic, informative, and tender look at the life of Josephine Baker is paired with Christian Robinson’s expressive acrylic illustrations, which are full of both energy and poignancy. Notes from both the author and the artist provide more background on Josephine and their research and inspiration. Further reading and quotation sources are provided. (Ages 8–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2015

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