BOOK REVIEWS

Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil-Rights Activist Nina Simone Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-10-12 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:1580898270
LANGUAGE:English

" Beautifully written with lovely parallels drawn between Nina Simone's brave action in the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream. There's lyrical language and a deeply moving message, yet I felt this story was lacking somehow. Perhaps it was the abruptness of the ending or the absence of backmatter about Nina's life and musical career. Still well worth reading! And be sure to take in all the beauty of the illustrations. " said.

" I love Nina Simone and was excited to read this with my (12 yo) daughter. But the story felt disjointed, and I couldn’t find a rhythm with the text. We were even confused about whose point of view the story was being told from at first. A high point was the keeping alive the moment of Nina’s refusing to sing when her mother was asked to give up her seat. Even the illustrations there were captivating. " said.

"This beautiful biography of Nina Simone weaves an evening lullaby and moments from the Civil Rights movement into a message of hope. With black and white illustrations, seemingly inspired by the keys of a piano, illustrate the systemic nature of racism. “‘The white keys are whole notes and the black keys are flats, or half notes,’ my teacher explained. I asked why. ‘Because that’s just the way it is.’ Yes that’s the way it was. White was whole. Black was half. It was that way everywhere and for everyone.”" said.

"Powerful. My favorite lines are:
“Music has no color. In music there is only one rhythm. Only one heart.”

I love how as a twelve year old, Nina took a stand for black rights. I love how she noticed as a three year old the unfairness is white and black keys on the piano.

The black and white illustrations are superb.

I wish this book had a biography page of Nina Simone in the back as I see done with many picture Books based on real events or a real person. I would love to know even more about Nina Simone.

“Dream, my baby, dream,”
until you spread your wings...
" said.

"As a musician, a parent, and a huge fan of Nina Simone, I was really excited to read this with my children. Ugh. So disappointed. "The white keys are whole notes" and "in music there is only one rhythm" - um, no. Is this supposed to be poetic? It's inaccurate, sloppy writing. (I haven't read the French version; perhaps it makes more sense?)

As general rules, white people don't need to be writing in first person as black icons, and in this instance a piano lesson or two would have been helpful. Nina Simone's story deserves at least that.
" said.

"Beautiful images, language was lovely, important message. I loved that it wasn't so wordy for young ones. I love reading historical books or biographies to my little Kinders and First graders (also my own kids, a first grader and a 3-year-old) but sometimes they can be heavy on the text (in all fairness, it is hard to tell many of these histories without a lot of words) and the kids lose interest. This one was a great length and still taught the powerful lesson of knowing your beauty, not letting anyone tell you you are less, and fighting for those rights. Pictures spoke volumes as well, liked it so very much!" said.

"This book is based on Nina Simone, jazz legend and activist. The black and white illustrations are sophisticated and incredibly textured.

It seems aimed at a somewhat older audience (older preschoolers, elementary students - middle grade), though even older fans of Nina Simone would probably also enjoy it.

This book could be used in discussions about music & civil rights movements in the USA. It could also be used as a bedtime story, since it starts and ends with putting a child to bed.

The kids enjoyed it.

I felt this book was lacking a back-matter page, so if you are using this book to learn about Nina Simone, it would help to pair this book's reading with additional books or information from other sources.
" said.

"Originally published in France for the French Market, this first U.S. edition picture book biography recounts the life of musician and activist Nina Simone. Written in first person as if Nina herself was recounting her life story to her daughter as a lullaby, we see Nina’s early influences as classical pianist as she was trained in childhood. Woven through the narrative is the struggle for civil rights as seen through her eyes as musician and activist. Stunning black and white pen and ink illustrations breathe visual life to the observations on civil rights and the English translation is done well enough that it makes it a good choice for a read aloud picture book. I would recommend this book for purchase by any school or public library.

This book was provided by the publisher for professional review by SWON Libraries.
" said.

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