New York :
G. P. Putnam's Sons
- Physical Description
- 1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
- Ages 4-8
- Includes bibliographical references.
- Main Author
- Other Authors
*Starred Review* Nina Simone's beauty and talent is given prominent expression by multiaward-winning Robinson in this picture-book biography. With artwork highlighting the musician's profile, Robinson emphasizes Simone's noble stature as a musician who combined her love of classical music with church standards and jazz to create a unique style that soared to prominence alongside her dedication to the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Often shown facing her piano, whether on her father's lap or at Carnegie Hall, the woman born as Eunice Kathleen Waymon is always foremost in the images, while Todd's prose eloquently tells her story from childhood to fame. Woven through the narrative is Simone's lifelong awareness of the injustices Black Americans faced, from watching her parents forced out of the front row to make room for a white couple during a childhood recital in her hometown to learning from prominent friends about the tumult and violence faced by Black people in the south as the movement for equality gained steam. Robinson's illustrations subtly portray the subject's transformation, particularly in her clothes, which gradually move from more subdued dresses to her bold, colorful, and Afrocentric signature style. In her end material, Todd provides additional biographical details for readers interested in gleaning more about the renowned woman. A worthy biography for all collections and especially for those that serve music-loving children. Grades 1-3. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
Todd's telling shines in this skillfully paced portrait of Eunice Kathleen Waymon (1933–2003)—more widely known by her stage name of Nina Simone—which traces her journey from a piano-playing child in North Carolina to later years as a performer, protest song pioneer, and civil rights activist. In an elegantly told story, Todd interweaves Simone's encounters with racism throughout, eventually paralleling Simone's experiences with concurrent events during the civil rights movement: "But while Nina sang of love, something else stirred in the streets of Philadelphia. A low rumble of anger and fear—the sound of Black people rising, rising, unwilling to accept being treated as less than human." Caldecott Honoree Robinson contributes distinctive, carefully constructed vignettes of Simone rendered in acrylic paint, collage, and digitally in a predominantly earth-toned palette; in one particularly moving series of illustrations, Robinson constructs historical scenes—Black protestors getting hosed by white cops, the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing by the KKK in Birmingham, people gathering at the Washington Monument after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination—beneath or atop the lid of Simone's grand piano. An engaging, affecting, and powerful biography that aptly situates Simone's enduring legacy in musical and social history. Back matter includes more about Simone and a bibliography. Ages 4–8. (Sept.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.Review by School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 2–6—This book begins with a little girl, Nina Simone, who has a gift and a passion for music, whether gospel, jazz, or classical. As Simone grows up, she begins to notice more inequities and injustices. Her anger grows, and the focus of the book shifts to issues of the civil rights movement and Simone's role within it. Discussions of racism and resistance are undertaken with a skillful hand, not exceeding the tone or maturity level appropriate for young readers. Robinson's jewel-tone artwork is colorful, engaging, and complements Todd's lyrical text, supporting comprehension and revealing additional details about the time. For example, in one of the opening images, the subject's mother is hanging up laundry while chickens peck around baby Nina in a basket. The character's expressive faces add another dimension that will leave kids much to ponder. This is especially notable in a scene between two families who are segregated, where everyone is hurt by this unjust separation. This title would support curricular units on civil rights, biography, theme, and identity. Back matter includes more details about the artist's life and her relationship to the civil rights movement. VERDICT An excellent and magnetic biography, this book is highly recommended in all elementary collections and should be considered for libraries serving older students.—Christina Salazar, Mesquite I.S.D., TX Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.
"A biography of Nina Simone, an acclaimed singer whose music gave voice to the struggle for racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement"--Review by Publisher Summary 2
Revealing and defining, this picture book biography tells the story of little Eunice Kathleen Waymon who, after becoming the acclaimed singer Nina Simone, used her voice for powerful protest in the fight against racial inequality and discrimination. Simultaneous eBook. Illustrations.Review by Publisher Summary 3
A 2022 Coretta Scott King Book Award Honoree! This luminous, defining picture book biography illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Christian Robinson, tells the remarkable and inspiring story of acclaimed singer Nina Simone and her bold, defiant, and exultant legacy. Cover may vary.Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in small town North Carolina, Nina Simone was a musical child. She sang before she talked and learned to play piano at a very young age. With the support of her family and community, she received music lessons that introduced her to classical composers like Bach who remained with her and influenced her music throughout her life. She loved the way his music began softly and then tumbled to thunder, like her mother's preaching, and in much the same way as her career. During her first performances under the name of Nina Simone her voice was rich and sweet but as the Civil Rights Movement gained steam, Nina's voice soon became a thunderous roar as she raised her voice in powerful protest in the fight against racial inequality and discrimination.