Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song
The audience was completely silent the first time Billie Holiday performed a song called “Strange Fruit.” In the 1930s, Billie was known as a performer of jazz and blues music, but this song wasn’t either of those things. It was a song about injustice, and it would change her life forever.
Discover how two outsiders—Billie Holiday, a young black woman raised in poverty, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants—combined their talents to create a song that challenged racism and paved the way for the Civil Rights movement.
|Interest Level||Grade 3 - Grade 6|
|Reading Level||Grade 4|
|Genre||Nonfiction, Picture Books|
|Category||5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity, Social Studies|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Millbrook Press ™|
|Number of Pages||40|
|Reading Counts! Level||5.6|
|Text Type||Narrative Nonfiction|
|BISACS||JNF018010, JNF007040, JNF036040|
|Dimensions||9.25 x 11|
|ATOS Reading Level||4.8|
|Accelerated Reader® Quiz||187709|
|Accelerated Reader® Points||0.5|
|Features||Afterword, Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Original artwork, Reviewed, Source notes, and Starred Reviews|
- ALA Notable Children's Books
- NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
- Kirkus Best Children's Books
- NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts
“[A] potent reminder of the power of art to combat intolerance and hate.”—starred, Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
“This is not an easy book, but it is powerful—just like its theme. Consider for guided in-depth discussions on Billie Holiday and U.S. history.”—School Library Journal
“The format and back matter make this most useful in a classroom setting, but it will be effective in prompting a discussion about one of the darkest times in U.S. history.”—Booklist
“Lynching: a strange and difficult but important topic for a song—and for this picture book. . . . A must-read, must-discuss that will speak to children and linger with adults.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews
Carole Boston Weatherford
“With poignant text and striking art, Golio and Riley-Webb put this anti-lynching hymn in context for young readers. Provocative yet age appropriate, this book is not only a window to past violence but a mirror for horrors unfolding today.”—Carole Boston Weatherford, author of Becoming Billie Holiday
Author: Gary Golio
Gary Golio is an artist and acclaimed picture book author. His Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow was a New York Times bestseller. Find out more about him at www.garygolio.com.
Illustrator: Charlotte Riley-Webb
Charlotte Riley-Webb, a professional visual artist with a career that spans more than 40 years, resides in the Atlanta area. Find her online at www.charlotterileywebb.com.