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Becoming Billie Holiday
Cover of Becoming Billie Holiday
Becoming Billie Holiday
Borrow
The stunning voice and hard life of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday is revealed through evocative, accessible poetry.
 
In 1915, Sadie Fagan gave birth to a daughter she named Eleanora. The world, however, would know her as Billie Holiday, possibly the greatest jazz singer of all time. Eleanora's journey to become a legend took her through pain, poverty, and run-ins with the law. By the time she was fifteen, she knew she possessed something that could possibly change her life—a voice. Eleanora could sing. Her remarkable voice led her to a place in the spotlight with some of the era's hottest big bands. Through a sequence of raw and poignant poems, New York Times best-selling and award-winning poet Carole Boston Weatherford chronicles the singer's young life, her fight for survival, and the dream she pursued with passion.
The stunning voice and hard life of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday is revealed through evocative, accessible poetry.
 
In 1915, Sadie Fagan gave birth to a daughter she named Eleanora. The world, however, would know her as Billie Holiday, possibly the greatest jazz singer of all time. Eleanora's journey to become a legend took her through pain, poverty, and run-ins with the law. By the time she was fifteen, she knew she possessed something that could possibly change her life—a voice. Eleanora could sing. Her remarkable voice led her to a place in the spotlight with some of the era's hottest big bands. Through a sequence of raw and poignant poems, New York Times best-selling and award-winning poet Carole Boston Weatherford chronicles the singer's young life, her fight for survival, and the dream she pursued with passion.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.8
  • Lexile:
    970
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 7


About the Author-
  • New York Times best-selling author Carole Boston Weatherford’s 60-plus books include the Caldecott Honor book Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre, for which she was awarded the Coretta Scott King Author Award and a Sibert Honor; the Newbery Honor winner Box; and the Caldecott Honor winners Freedom in Congo Square, Fannie Lou Hamer,and Moses. She won a Coretta Scott King Author Honor for Becoming Billie Holiday. Weatherford teaches at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. Visit cbweatherford.com. 
    Floyd Cooper (1956–2021) illustrated over 110 books for children, including Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford, for which he was awarded a Caldecott Honor, the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, and a Sibert Honor. He was also the recipient of the CorettaScott King Award for The Blacker the Berry; three Coretta Scott King Honors for I Have Heard of a Land, Meet Danitra Brown, and Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea; 10 ALA Notables; and an NAACP Image Award, among other honors. Visit floydcooper.com.
Reviews-
  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from October 1, 2008
    Gr 8 Up-In this fictionalized memoir, Weatherford has composed nearly 100 first-person narrative poems that detail Holiday's life from birth until age 25, the age at which she debuted her signature song, "Strange Fruit." The poems borrow their titles from Holiday's songs, a brilliant device that provides readers with a haunting built-in sound track. Weatherford's language is straightforward and accessiblealmost conversational. She captures the woman's jazzy, candid voice so adroitly that at times the poems seem like they could have been lifted wholesale from Holiday's autobiography, "Lady Sings the Blues". Cooper's sepia-toned, nostalgic, mixed-media illustrations provide an emotional counterpoint to the text. Resembling old photographs seen through a lens of aching hindsight, they make explicit the pain that Weatherford studiously avoids giving full voice to in her poems. Although Holiday's early life was one of relentless rejection, discrimination, and poverty, the author stays true to her subject and maintains a resolute and defiant tone, albeit one tinged with regret. Prostitution, rape, jail time, and violence are mentioned, but the book ends on the proverbial high note, before the singer's drug use, alcoholism, and early death. This captivating title places readers solidly into Holiday's world, and is suitable for independent reading as well as a variety of classroom uses."Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD"

    Copyright 2008 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books fblreggie13 - i decided to read this book because its kind of interesting and that it talks about how this girl go's to school and she does things better than others like boys and she bragss about she does everything better than the boys cause they are some bad kids.
  • Booklist

    October 1, 2008
    Grades 6-9 In a series of free-verse poems and bluesy lyrics, headed by song titles, Weatherford retraces Holidays childhood and early career in the renowned jazz singers own voice. At eleven, I had the body / of a grown woman, / the mouth of a sailor, and a temper / hot enough to fry an egg. Growing up in Baltimore, she moved to Harlem with her sometimes-absent mother after being molested by a neighbor, and quickly fell in love with late-night life. Dubbed Lady Day, she earned money singing in clubs, was discovered by jazz-enthusiast John Hammond, and battled racism on a groundbreaking tour with Artie Shaws all-white band. Closing with Holidays spectacular headline gig at the Caf' Society, where she sang Strange Fruithow could I not claim: / this is my song?Weatherford leaves the 25-year-old at a high spot in her career, before later troubles and drug addiction. After the whole story readers will find a generous assortment of recommended reading and listening at the end of this proud, clear-voiced testimonial.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2008, American Library Association.)

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Astra Publishing House
  • OverDrive Read
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