Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Harlem's Little Blackbird by Renee Watson

Even the teeny tiniest house in New York that held a family of ex-slave parents and a few girls can produce a big sound heard all over the world...

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I went to see Lena Horne perform in Seattle.  She told us a little bit about her life during the act.  There were black labels for music, separate places for them to perform, and separate quarters for them.  It all sounded foreign to me, but I was raised to believe all people are alike despite color, religion, or culture.  My first real sign of discrimination was when I married my husband and the local Finn nursery store owner asked him why he had to marry a white girl.  When Glen explained I was called that because I wasn't a Finn, I was amazed.  Unfortunately, my husband has some of those prejudices in his system and it creates some conflicts between us once in a while.

This the story of Florence Mills.  She was one of the first black singers to enter the white frontier.  She had an extraordinary voice that opened doors for her.  I admire women brave enough to go forward when the odds are against them and they may be facing personal injury by the being the first.  Even more, I admire this woman because she chose to give to those less fortunate than she (she remembered her beginnings) and she shared her songs with those who couldn't afford to pay for a performance.  She also sang during movements for black rights.

I wasn't aware of her existence until this book.  Why not share some history with your child and see if you can find some more information on this subject matter.  There were other artists that rose out of Harlem and demonstrated natural talents most people don't have.  It'd work great for a book report, too.

Happy reading.  


Shan said...

This would be a great book for teacher's to use during Black History month...is it in Feb?

Journey of a Bookseller said...

Yes, it is. I have a history book I'll be reviewing soon for that month, also.