Biographys: Black Women in Children’s Lit

IMG_4114Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat Ella Fitzgerald by Roxane Orgill and Sean Qualls; Candlewick Press, 2010
This chapter book biography goest back to Ella’s childhood growing up during the Great Depression in New York. Fitzgerald had a hard childhood, essentially growing up in the streets. It was her love of music and talent as a dancer that helped her find her purpose.
“The feeling of being listened to—oh, it was a salve to Ella’s sore heart.”

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist by Philip Dray and Stephen Alcorn; Peachtree Publishers, 2008IMG_4112
There must have been so much promise in the air in those days when former enslaved people watched their children learn how to read, write and count. Ida B. Wells was a child of that promise. She learned resistence at an early age from her parents. She became a newspaper publisher who specifically worked to shed light on the horrors of lynching.
“Although Ida like going to school, she often had a hard time getting along with others, especially her teachers. Even at this early age, Ida had a mind of her own and didn’t hesitate to give her opinion.”

Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson; Chronicle Books, 2014
Josephine Baker’s life embodied the ‘one step forward, two steps back’ path of being a successful Black American in the early twentieth century. In the US she mocked discrimination with her comedy but it Europe she danced and sang her way to being accepted as a Black woman and as an entertainer.IMG_4113
“She flung her arms,
            she flung her legs.
Like she flung her heart and her soul.
‘Cause DANCIN’ makes you HAPPY
                        when nothin’ else will.”