JOSEPHINE: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

JosephineJOSEPHINE: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
Illustrated by Christian Robinson, Written by Patricia Hruby Powell

Publisher’s Summary:
In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine’s powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.

Primary Source Pairing:
The larger-than-life spirit of Josephine Baker comes alive in this beautifully illustrated book. Josephine Baker danced and sang her way into hearts all over the world during her career. The 1920s, commonly referred to as the Roaring Twenties, was a time after World War I when Americans were anxious to resume a normal life and have fun. The Roaring Twenties was filled with music and dance, including jazz and the Charleston. For this primary source pairing, invite students to watch a video recording of Josephine Baker dancing in 1927. Take note not only of Josephine dancing but also the people who are there to watch her.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see and hear.
  • What do you notice first?
  • Do you only see live action, or are there any special effects or animation?
  • Does anything about it seem strange or unusual?
  • What other details do you notice?
  • What was the purpose of this video recording?
  • Who are the people who appear in it?
  • If someone created this motion picture today, what would be different?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Josephine Baker Dancing: YouTube