1.21.2013

Harlem's Little Blackbird

The Story of Florence Mills 

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday
hosted today by The LibrariYAn
and joins It's Monday!
What are you reading?

(pub. 10.23.2012) 40 pages 

A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

A uthor: Rene Watson
     and Illustrator: Christian Robinson

haracter: Florence Mills

O verview from the jacket flap: 

      "Growing up in Washington, DC, at the turn of the twentieth century, Florence Mills knew that she was blessed with a gift - a sweet, birdlike singing voice that everyone loved. But she also knew firsthand the profound ache of racism. When she moved to New York City, the stages got bigger, the lights grew brighter, and offers that could make her an international star were hers for the taking. Instead, Florence chose shows that helped promote other black performers. And she sang songs that heralded the call for civil rights.
     Together Renee Watson's gorgeously evocative prose and Christian Robinson's stunning mixed-media art shine a light on this little-known but much-loved member of the Harlem Renaissance elite - a performer whose story may have faded from the history books, but whose influence resonated long after she sang her last song."
        
T antalizing taste: 

     "Each night, Florence gave her best. Every part of her body danced. Her eyelashes fluttered, her fingers wiggled. She whirled around and boogied down. Night after night, she gave the audience a hand-clapping, foot-stomping good time...
      Florence's dream lives on in the singers and dancers who came after her. It lives on in the heart of every boy and girl from a teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy place who dreams of doing great big, gigantic, enormous things."
                       
and something more: Christian Robinson, the illustrator of Harlem's Little Blackbird, was interviewed on the blog, Random Acts of Reading. He talked with Suzy Capozzi, editor of the book at Random House, about the process of working with the art director Ellice Lee:
       "There was a real sense of creative freedom, I wasn’t asked to alter my style or to make something that '…looked more like this thing over here.' It was as if whatever came naturally for me was appreciated, which is like having a huge weight lifted. There was room for play and exploration, which made illustrating a positive experience and a lot of fun." 
        Sounds like a wonderful collaboration!

7 comments:

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

What a wonderful book - I love books like this which let us know about the lesser known characters in our history.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Yes, it is terrific that books are being published that focus on lesser known people in history. Thanks for stopping by!

Books4Learning said...

I am going to check this book out! This one looks like a gem! I love learning about "forgotten" people in history.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Great! I think you'll enjoy this book. Thanks for stopping by!

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Oh Jeanne, the book cover looks gorgeous. As per usual, you have introduced me to another PBB that I must MUST find. :) Thanks for sharing this.

Lady In Read said...

this book definitely looks like a gem (like Books4Learning said).. I am going to check this at our library and see..
http://myrandrspace.blogspot.com/

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Thanks for your thoughts! I hope you enjoy it.