English / USA

The dazzling life of Josephine Baker

Powell, Patricia Hruby (text)
Robinson, Christian (illus.)
San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2014. –
[104] p.
ISBN 978-1-4521-0314-3

Baker, Josephine | Dancing | Racism | Civil Rights Movement | Biography | Non-fiction

Performing on stage was Josephine Baker’s life. Born into a poor family in St. Louis, she always felt the urge to dance, leap, and soar, and at thirteen grabbed the first opportunity to join a vaudeville troupe. She performed from New Orleans to Philadelphia to New York. However, segregation in the US made her seek a new home in Paris where her vivacity, comic talent, and determination ensured her huge success. Yet, the flamboyant exotic dancer had another side, too: She was also mother of her ≫rainbow tribe≪, a fighter for social justice, and a war spy.

The book is divided into six ≫acts≪, i.e. phases of her life, each opening with a double spread of a stage with raised curtain. Written in catching free verse by ex-dancer Patricia Hruby Powell, with various Baker quotations sprinkled throughout the book, this biography sparkles with the spirit and pizzazz of the ≫Black Venus≪. The lively acrylic illustrations in matted shades visualise Josephine’s life during the first half of the twentieth century. (Age: 10+)