Academic journal article Language Arts

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

Academic journal article Language Arts

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

Article excerpt

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker Written by Patricia Hruby Powell Illustrated by Christian Robinson Chronicle, 2014, unpaged, ISBN 978-1-4521-0314-3

Josephine Baker was an intriguing character who lived a fascinating life. She leftthe United States and moved to Paris, France, where she became a "colored superstar" who was a dancer, singer, actress, fashion icon, and mother of 12 adopted children from diverse racial backgrounds. This free-verse biography of her life does not disappoint in that both the text and the illustrations are excellent. Powell's text captures the vivaciousness and sass of Josephine's personality. "Josephine-/ born poor, / out of wedlock / in honky-tonk town-/ rambunctious / SAINT LOUIS, Missouri-/ home of barrelhouses, / nickle shots of whisky, / and gambling halls-/ home of / RAGTIME MUSIC-/ raggedy black music-/ gotta-make-the-rent-music- / lift-my-soul music-/ GOLDEN-AGE music. / Josephine's mama scrubbed floors, / but would've rather been / DANCING-/ where you were free of / how-to-pay-the-rent, / where you could be right there / in your body / nowhere else, where you could / let your body LAUGH. …

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