Josephine Baker Rocks!

A fabulous illustrator, Christian Robinson, recently held our school’s “itchy-britches-is-it-summer-yet” children spellbound.

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Christian Robinson

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Drawing activities

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“Draw my voice”

If you aren’t familiar with Christian’s work, you should check out his website and marvel at his range. 

And if you happened to “Google” anything on this past Martin Luther King Day, you most likely noticed Christian’s “Google Doodle,” honoring Dr. King.

But I digress. I want to highlight a post from an indie book blogger, The Picture Book Life, that shines the spotlight on Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (recent recipient of a Horn Book Honor).

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The Picture Book Life justifies the claim that many picture books are not “just” for kids.

I’d had a conversation with the Chronicle Books Children’s Editor, Melissa Manlove, earlier this year at an SCBWI event. She said that if someone had told her she’d fall in love with and want to publish an 4,000 word children’s picture book about a woman who was famous for dancing without her clothes—well, you already know the end of what she was going to say.

Josephine Baker was ever so much more than that. Josephine is lyrically written and fabulously illustrated and should be a “must read” addition to everyone’s shelves. Check out a detailed review of the book, complete with illustrations, at The Picture Book Life

18 thoughts on “Josephine Baker Rocks!

      • FictionFan says:

        I couldn’t decide if it was poetry or prose on the few pages on the post – it seemed to slip in and out of poetry. But very jazzy, I thought. I feel as if I vaguely remember Josephine Baker – well, actually what I feel I remember is my parents’ disapproval! Just wiki’d and she appeared on a Royal Variety Show over here back in 1974 – I’m guessing that would be the occasion she’d have been being discussed in our house. I can’t remember if I was allowed to watch, though you’d think if she was respectable enough for the Queen, she should have been fit for our TV… 😉

  1. Margarita says:

    Wow! Beautiful book. One of Josephine Baker’s adopted sons, Jean Claude Baker, has a restaurant in Manhattan, Chez Josephine, dedicated to celebrating his adoptive mother’s life. It’s a very fun place to go, and the food’s pretty good, too! Thanks, Jilanne! xoxoM

  2. Lady Fancifull says:

    Thank you Jilanne, I think this book might have to make the postman come a visiting at some point, having done as you instructed and followed the link!.

    PS Your son’s school sounds GREAT. I really wish you could be our minister of education instead of that tick-boxy Gove chappie we are currently stuck with!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Oh, I love that description: “tick-boxy Gove chappie”

      There’s a certain poetic rhythm. The scansion looks like this: /xx/xx Otherwise known as dactylic dimeter, where a stressed syllable is followed by two unstressed syllables, and each unit is considered a foot. Here we have two feet, so it’s dimeter.

      The great Shakes, as well all know, wrote in iambic pentameter: x/x/x/x/x/ or, five feet of an unstressed syllable followed by one that’s stressed.

      Sorry, my poetry class has me obsessed with rhythm. Where do I apply for the MofEd job? Will they want references?

      • Lady Fancifull says:

        5 feet of unstressed syllable followed by one that is stressed……an insect with a sprained ankle?

        As for the MoD, I rather think a revolution and coup would do the job. Not sure its standard job application followed by the taking up of references, sadly. Particularly as Mr G has drawn up his skirts like an anxious Hemulen against the influx of (he shuddered faintly) AMERICAN literature. He seems determined to make reading a truly terrible experience by forcing surly unreading teens to consume the British classical tradition. Sure, happy established readers love this, but there are more immediately exciting possibilities if you want to get resentful readers hooked so that they turn into people like us who are endlessly adding books to their TBR piles

  3. Britt Skrabanek says:

    Dude, that’s so neat! I was obsessed with Josephine Baker as a kid. I always picked her for projects during Black History Month. What an amazing entertainer and woman she was!

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