Description from GoodReads:
A complete biographical look at the complex life of a world-famous entertainer.
With determination and audacity, Josephine Baker turned her comic and musical abilities into becoming a worldwide icon of the Jazz Age. The Many Faces of Josephine Baker: Dancer, Singer, Activist, Spy provides the first in-depth portrait of this remarkable woman for young adults. Author Peggy Caravantes follows Baker’s life from her childhood in the depths of poverty to her comedic rise in vaudeville and fame in Europe. This lively biography covers her outspoken participation in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, espionage work for the French Resistance during World War II, and adoption of 12 children—her “rainbow tribe.” Also included are informative sidebars on relevant topics such as the 1917 East St. Louis riot, Pullman railway porters, the Charleston, and more. The lush photographs, appendix updating readers on the lives of the rainbow tribe, source notes, and bibliography make this is a must-have resource for any student, Baker fan, or history buff.
Carolyn's thoughts on the book:
I normally don't read that much nonfiction, but I did enjoy The Many Faces of Josephine Baker. The life of Josephine Baker is so compelling and intriguing that this makes for a great read for middle and high schoolers alike. Josephine's life is fascinating - from her success story to her work as a spy, the story of her unique life never bores. While many of us search for heroes (especially heroines) in fiction, Josephine Baker is a great heroine from history (perfect for Women's History Month) who, for the most part, has sadly been forgotten by history. This book does a good job of highlighting her life and work. I would recommend The Many Faces of Josephine Baker as a resource for research into important historical women for school, or simply as an educational bit of free-reading for middle grade readers.
Though narrated in French, this clip from the Dayton Art Institute gives you a taste of Josephine Baker's quirky and ahead of the times style:
About the author:
Peggy Caravantes is a former English and history teacher, middle school principal, and deputy school superintendent. She is the author of 16 books for middle grades and young adult readers, including Petticoat Spies: Six Women Spies of the Civil War and American Hero: The Audie Murphy Story. Her YA biographies have been selected for the California Titles for Young Adults, Tri-State Books of Note, and the Top Forty Young Adult Nonfiction Books lists. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.
For further reading on Josephine Baker try these illustrated biographies:
Jazz Age Josephine by Jonah Winter: Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012)
Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell; Illustrated by Christian Robinson (Chronicle Books, 2014)