Books by Billie Holiday

GOD BLESS THE CHILD by Billie Holiday
Released: Jan. 1, 2004

With Holiday's music and Pinkney's art, this package sets expectations high—and doesn't disappoint. The simple words are mournful, yet matter-of-fact; the refrain "But God bless the child / That's got his own!" keeps the focus on the young audience. Pinkney's inspired decision to illustrate this hymn-like lament with images of the Great Migration of African-Americans from the Deep South to the industrial north truly brings the words to life. He signifies the historical setting first in the endpapers: those at the beginning show a pattern of wood boards evocative of the walls of a sharecropper's cabin; and those at the end show what looks like flowered wallpaper. Images of dignified figures first picking cotton, then packing the car, then sewing in a factory, eventually buying ice cream from a truck, and, finally, gathered around a piano and making music together, alternate with landscape scenes of a field of workers, an abandoned cabin, and the elevated train tracks in Chicago. The evocative recording on the CD ends too quickly; there is much to pore over and discuss here, and this remarkable work is worth picking up (and listening to) more than once. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >