JosephineSpring 2014 Poetry
Patricia Hruby Powell's evocative text, gorgeously illustrated by Christian Robinson, nearly dances off the page in this stunning pictorial biography of legendary American-born performer Josephine Baker (1906-1975), who overcame a childhood spent in abject poverty and overt, codified racism—although she had to move to France to do it. With powerful resonance, Powell relates the high and low points of this extraordinary life: The toast of Paris, Baker became one of the world's premiere entertainers and the muse of writers, artists and fashion designers. She also became a stunt pilot and a decorated spy for the French Resistance during World War II, yet Baker still had to use the servants' entrance at her hotel in New York when she returned there as the first black woman to star in the Ziegfeld Follies. Powell brings to life Baker's adoption of 12 children of different races (her "Rainbow Tribe"), her later personal struggles and finally, movingly, her triumphant Carnegie Hall appearance at age 67. The book includes separate pages of biographical notes and resources for further reading.