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Harlem's Little Blackbird by Renee…
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Harlem's Little Blackbird

by Renee Watson

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This was a very cute biography of Florence Mills, a singer and dancer during the Harlem Renaissance who came from almost nothing. It's a very inspirational story about sticking to your dreams and I enjoyed it a lot, especially since I had never heard of her before. I wish I could hear her music, but we find out during the author's note that her music was never recorded.

The illustrations were very cute and colorful, which I think will appeal to children very nicely. The reading level is younger elementary students, but this is a good book for all ages. Another great book for a history lesson, especially for learning about the Harlem Renaissance, segregation or biographies. ( )
  NRedler | Feb 4, 2016 |
A little girl, coming from almost nothing, knew from a young age that her strongest powers were in her vocals. Following Florence's journey to stardom, one automatically wants to dance and sing along (even without hearing her voice). Standing up against racist times, Florence helped pave the way for other talented souls through her tenacity. With a song like a bird, nobody could resist the allure of her ballad. Touching the hearts of over a hundred thousand people through her enchanting voice, the tale of her influence lives on. ( )
  dbuster | Jan 14, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this biography. The main message of this story is to inform students of the great singer and dancer Florence Mills and to teach them to never give up on your dreams. There were several things I liked about this book. First, I liked the use of repetition in the story. The story repeated the phrase, "If my voice." This makes shared reading fun and easier for the kids to join in. I also thought the book had a well developed plot. The book spent a little time in each age era from a young child to when she was old and could no longer sing. It was very easy to follow and not confusing. Lastly, I enjoyed the concept of the book. Children always say they want to be a dancer or professional athlete etc when they grow up. In this story they were able to see a young girl stick with her dreams and actually grow up to be the dancer and singer she wanted to despite what everyone else told her. ( )
  bmalon6 | Mar 31, 2015 |
Florence Mills, or Harlem's Little Blackbird, found singing and music both comforting and uplifting. Soon, people began to notice her amazing talent and she would go on to perform in local venues as well as venues around the world. Her generosity and talent would make her a role model, and her "cry" for equal rights would be heard by everyone, and everyone loved her.
The author's note informs readers that her voice was never recorded and her performances were never filmed. But her legacy leaves on due to the impact she left behind. ( )
  slbenne1 | Dec 3, 2014 |
This was such a powerful book. The illustrator did a wonderful job with the pictures in the book. This will surely capture the attention of young readers. The author uses descriptive adjectives to help readers imagine that they are in the early 1900's. She also touches upon very important situations that were occuring during that time also. The author dicusses segregation between Caucasians and African Americans. Overall, both the author and the illustrator, did a wonderful job writing about the life of Florence Mills so that readers of all ages can appreciate her trials and tribulations. If I were a teacher, I would read this story to my students' when discussing famous African American people. ( )
  jpons | Oct 9, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375869735, Hardcover)

Zora and Langston. Billie and Bessie. Eubie and Duke. If the Harlem Renaissance had a court, they were its kings and queens. But there were other, lesser known individuals whose contributions were just as impactful, such as Florence Mills. Born to parents who were former-slaves Florence knew early on that she loved to sing. And that people really responded to her sweet, bird-like voice. Her dancing and singing catapulted her all the way to the stages of 1920s Broadway where she inspired songs and even entire plays! Yet with all this success, she knew firsthand how bigotry shaped her world. And when she was offered the role of a lifetime from Ziegfeld himself, she chose to support all-black musicals instead.

Fans of When Marian Sang and Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa will jump at the chance to discover another talented performer whose voice transcended and transformed the circumstances society placed on her.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:08 -0400)

A tribute to lesser-known Harlem Renaissance performer Florence Mills includes coverage of her youth as a child of former slaves, her singing and dancing performances that inspired songs and entire plays, and the struggles with racism that prompted her advocacy of all-black theater and musicals.… (more)

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