Before the legend of Billie Holiday, there was a girl named Eleanora. In 1915, Sadie Fagan gave birth to a daughter she named Eleanora. The world, however, would know her as Billie Holiday, possibly the greatest jazz singer of all time. Eleanora’s journey into legend took her through pain, poverty, and run-ins with the law. By the time she was fifteen, she knew she possessed something that could possibly change her life—a voice. Eleanora could sing. Her remarkable voice led her to a place in the spotlight with some of the era’s hottest big bands. Billie Holiday sang as if she had lived each lyric, and in many ways she had. Through a sequence of raw and poignant poems, award-winning poet Carole Boston Weatherford chronicles Eleanora Fagan’s metamorphosis into Billie Holiday. The author examines the singer’s young life, her fight for survival, and the dream she pursued with passion in this Coretta Scott King Author Honor winner. With stunning art by Floyd Cooper, this book provides a revealing look at a cultural icon.
* “The poetry is rich and evocative. . . . A remarkable tribute well worthy of its subject.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Readers will find a generous assortment of recommended reading and listening at the end of this proud, clear-voiced testimonial.” —Booklist
* “[Weatherford] captures the woman’s jazzy, candid voice so adroitly that at times the poems seem like they could have been lifted wholesale from Holiday’s autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues. . . . This captivating title places readers solidly into Holiday’s world, and is suitable for independent reading as well as a variety of classroom uses.” —School Library Journal, starred review