website statistics Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song

Availability: Ready to download

This picture book for older readers tells the story of how the racism protest song "Strange Fruit" came into being in 1939. This is also the story of two outsiders - Billie Holiday, a young black woman raised in poverty, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants - whose combined talents created a truly unforgettable song. This picture book for older readers tells the story of how the racism protest song "Strange Fruit" came into being in 1939. This is also the story of two outsiders - Billie Holiday, a young black woman raised in poverty, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants - whose combined talents created a truly unforgettable song.


Compare

This picture book for older readers tells the story of how the racism protest song "Strange Fruit" came into being in 1939. This is also the story of two outsiders - Billie Holiday, a young black woman raised in poverty, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants - whose combined talents created a truly unforgettable song. This picture book for older readers tells the story of how the racism protest song "Strange Fruit" came into being in 1939. This is also the story of two outsiders - Billie Holiday, a young black woman raised in poverty, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants - whose combined talents created a truly unforgettable song.

30 review for Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song

  1. 5 out of 5

    ij

    A picture book biography on Billie Holiday written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb. A powerful book about a powerful African-American singer. Born Eleanora Fagan in 1915, she lived anything but a charmed life. She did not have a stable home life and spent time in reform school and in jail. She did not let this stop her from pursuing a singing career. The book covers many of the challenges she endured as a singer of color. She appeared in venues where she could perform but peo A picture book biography on Billie Holiday written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb. A powerful book about a powerful African-American singer. Born Eleanora Fagan in 1915, she lived anything but a charmed life. She did not have a stable home life and spent time in reform school and in jail. She did not let this stop her from pursuing a singing career. The book covers many of the challenges she endured as a singer of color. She appeared in venues where she could perform but people of her race were not allowed to attend. She had to go thru back doors so that no one would think blacks were allowed. Billie did not like this a later only performed in integrated venues. Strange Fruit is a song which she she became famous for recording. It is a sad song referring to lynching. The strange fruit being lynched black people. This is a hard story for children, but it is our history. Book for ages 8 - 12. Black History Month Read

  2. 4 out of 5

    Prabhjot Kaur

    Can one single song inspire millions of people to unite in solidarity? To answer my own question, yes, it can. Strange Fruit is about a song that was written to highlight the injustices and racism towards black people in America. It also highlights lynching towards black people. It starts off with the story of Billie Holiday, a jazz musician. How she became a famous jazz musician and how her performing of the song strange fruit brought so many issues to light. I loved the story and the illustrat Can one single song inspire millions of people to unite in solidarity? To answer my own question, yes, it can. Strange Fruit is about a song that was written to highlight the injustices and racism towards black people in America. It also highlights lynching towards black people. It starts off with the story of Billie Holiday, a jazz musician. How she became a famous jazz musician and how her performing of the song strange fruit brought so many issues to light. I loved the story and the illustrations. But in my opinion, to read it to children - one needs to use their discretion. 4 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    [HEADS UP! GRAPHIC LANGUAGE, DISTURBING DESCRIPTIONS BELOW] Gary Golio and Charlotte Riley-Webb's collaboration on Strange Fruit has produced a stunning picture book. . .for mature, older children. But I have to say, this mature ancient reader, caught her breath at the art which accompanies this inspiring remembrance of how the disturbing, soul shaking song "Strange Fruit" came to be, and how one woman helped it spread throughout the world. Bright, impressionist, simple, harmonic colors splay acro [HEADS UP! GRAPHIC LANGUAGE, DISTURBING DESCRIPTIONS BELOW] Gary Golio and Charlotte Riley-Webb's collaboration on Strange Fruit has produced a stunning picture book. . .for mature, older children. But I have to say, this mature ancient reader, caught her breath at the art which accompanies this inspiring remembrance of how the disturbing, soul shaking song "Strange Fruit" came to be, and how one woman helped it spread throughout the world. Bright, impressionist, simple, harmonic colors splay across the pages in tune with the words on each page. Short and true, telling of Billie Holiday's life and distresses suffered at the hands of the same tribe who waited to hear her sing. She was to entertain, but not mix and mingle, not enjoy the same privilege. Having finally had enough, she found her stage and brought up the message, the poem put to music that could silence (and should) all within earshot of her voice. This picture book is short and to the point: we - our society, country, communities - have allowed murder unjustified to happen; and, we MUST acknowledge, understand and do all we can to prevent it from happening to ANYONE, going forward. For those that are not familiar with this song - it was written by Abel Meeropol, a high school teacher, who lived in the Bronx, was white, Jewish and appalled at lynchings. One in particular in 1930 set him to writing. He published it under the name Lewis Allen. Troubled by recent events, I wanted to read this with my grandchildren. After reviewing it, and following it up with a YouTube of Billie actually singing this, which I think is absolutely required after completing this book, I find I cannot. They are too young yet. However, it is on my list of things to do with them as they come of age. As for myself, I am grateful for the short, brilliantly illustrated book that celebrates the courage of the poet to approach Billie, Billie to perform so compellingly, the author to put all together and publishers to print. It troubles me that in 2020 our "color-blind" communities are anything but. Southern trees bear strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. Pastoral scene of the gallant South, The bulging eyes and twisted mouth, The scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh, Then the sudden smell of burning flesh. Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop, Here is a strange and bitter crop. 5 stars. . . .brilliantly blazing a flame for change of heart, mind and action. . . .

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song - ★★★★1/2 “Those who heard her said she sounded like nobody else.” This very short picture book tells of Billie Holiday (1915 – 1959), an American jazz singer, her rise to fame and the origin of her song Strange Fruit, written by Abel Meeropol and first recorded in 1939. Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan) had traumatic childhood, but her passion for music, singing and jazz always drove her forward and inspired her to achievements. Holiday s Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song - ★★★★1/2 “Those who heard her said she sounded like nobody else.” This very short picture book tells of Billie Holiday (1915 – 1959), an American jazz singer, her rise to fame and the origin of her song Strange Fruit, written by Abel Meeropol and first recorded in 1939. Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan) had traumatic childhood, but her passion for music, singing and jazz always drove her forward and inspired her to achievements. Holiday started singing in Harlem music clubs when she was fifteen and gained her fame while performing at the famous Café Society in New York, which allowed both white and black people to sit at front tables. Colourful illustrations by Charlotte Riley-Webb help make Billie Holiday’s story even more vivid and powerful than it already is for many. The book conveys the prejudice and racism the singer faced in her career and the ways she tried to fight back. Strange Fruit remains one of the most important and powerful song-statements against slavery, violence and oppression.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    This picture book biography for older readers tells two stories that are intertwined. First, it is the story of Billie Holiday’s life, a life was never easy right from the beginning. Her mother left her with an older half sister when she was a baby. At 10, Billie ended up in a reform school for something that wasn’t her fault. After she finally went to NYC to live with her mother, both of them ended up in jail when Billie was 14. But Billie Holiday loved to sing and jazz was her style of choice. This picture book biography for older readers tells two stories that are intertwined. First, it is the story of Billie Holiday’s life, a life was never easy right from the beginning. Her mother left her with an older half sister when she was a baby. At 10, Billie ended up in a reform school for something that wasn’t her fault. After she finally went to NYC to live with her mother, both of them ended up in jail when Billie was 14. But Billie Holiday loved to sing and jazz was her style of choice. She was hired by white bandleader Artie Shaw, and even though she was a spotlight singer on his tours, she still faced discrimination everywhere they went because of her race. Finally, Billie Holiday had had enough and she quit Artie Shaw’s band. Striking out on her own, she began to sing in a new Greenwich Village club called Cafe Society, a place with black and white customers and performers weren’t segregated. Cafe Society was opened by Barney Josephson, and it was here, in 1939, that Billie Holiday premiered a radical new song called “Strange Fruit.” High school teacher, Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants, was so outraged by America’s racism and especially the violence faced by African Americans, that he wrote “Strange Fruit” after seeing a picture of a lynching. And that is exactly was “Strange Fruit” is about. And when Billie Holiday sang it at Cafe Society, it was always the last song of the night and all activity stopped until she was done. Strange Fruit is a very powerful biography about Billie Holiday, one that brings to light the way she was regarded because of her race from childhood on, and the shameful treatment she received because of it, despite being a popular black female singer with whites in the 1930s and 1940s. And yet, as compelling and powerful as Strange Fruit is, I question who it if for. It is recommended for readers age 8+, but some young readers may be too sensitive for the material covered. I think it feels like a book that should be given to readers a few years older, readers who may have a better background understanding of what life was like for African Americans in this country before the Civil Rights Movement. Since “Strange Fruit” was a signature song for Billie Holiday, I think that as a book for older readers, Strange Fruit could be paired with Marilyn Nelson’s book A Wreath for Emmett Till to give students a more balanced picture, and a deeper understanding of the despicable practice lynching. I would have like to see more about Abel Meeropol but could not find a children’s book about the author of such a formidable protest song. I do know that Meeropol taught in the Bronx, and that he and his wife Anne adopted the two sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1953 after they were executed. Riley-Webb’s illustrations done in boldly textured brush stokes using acrylics and tissue collage, are as colorful and dynamic as the jazz Billie Holiday sang, and the sometimes light, sometimes dark images give the story being told a very dramatic intensity. The lyrics to “Strange Fruit” and additional biographical information about Billie Holiday are included in the back matter. This book is recommended for readers age 8+ but I would definitely go older This book was an EARC received from NetGalley

  6. 4 out of 5

    Gary Anderson

    This is a tough one. “Strange Fruit,” a protest song about the lynching of Black Americans, was Billie Holiday’s powerful signature. In concert and on record, her rendition was chilling and emotional. So, Gary Golio’s attempt to develop a picture book based on Billie Holiday’s association with “Strange Fruit” is ambitious but fraught with the potential to be inappropriately graphic for some young readers. Golio seems aware of the tricky territory. The first part of the book deals with Billie Hol This is a tough one. “Strange Fruit,” a protest song about the lynching of Black Americans, was Billie Holiday’s powerful signature. In concert and on record, her rendition was chilling and emotional. So, Gary Golio’s attempt to develop a picture book based on Billie Holiday’s association with “Strange Fruit” is ambitious but fraught with the potential to be inappropriately graphic for some young readers. Golio seems aware of the tricky territory. The first part of the book deals with Billie Holiday’s origins and the obstacles she faced due to racism. The unfairness and danger of a black woman making her way in the white-dominated entertainment world is made clear but not in a way likely to be frightening to most young readers. When the song “Strange Fruit” is mentioned for the first time in the primary narrative, it is noted to be about lynching but Golio does not dwell on the song’s imagery. However, the back matter begins with a full page of the lyrics in large print, including “Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,” “bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,” and “the sudden smell of burning flesh.” Charlotte Riley-Webb’s illustrations are a revelation. Bold strokes, bright colors, and swirling shapes convey the story and create tension. I especially liked the rough textures on the surface of some of the paintings. It’s not my place to say whether a book is or isn’t right for all audiences. All I know is that few books are right for everybody. Strange Fruit is one where the adults involved will need to think about whether it suits the needs of young people who will experience it under their guidance.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dee Dee G

    The pictures in this book look like paintings. Absolutely beautiful.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    An unusual and powerful picture book about Billie Holiday and her signature song, Strange Fruit. Dark, thoughtful and extremely moving, this is a book that could be used very effectively in a middle school classroom. Gary Galio's text has lyrical strength and Charlotte Riley-Webb's somber acrylic illustrations swirl and pulse on the pages. An unusual and powerful picture book about Billie Holiday and her signature song, Strange Fruit. Dark, thoughtful and extremely moving, this is a book that could be used very effectively in a middle school classroom. Gary Galio's text has lyrical strength and Charlotte Riley-Webb's somber acrylic illustrations swirl and pulse on the pages.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jean-Marie

    This picture book serves an excellent first exposure to the story behind Billie Holiday and the song Strange Fruit. This small taste can encourage kids to learn more about the song, Billie Holiday, the 1930s and 1940s, songwriter and poet Abel Meeropol, and variety of other relevant topics. The author notes are a must read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    While I didn't like this as much as his previous book about Jimi Hendrix, this book is an excellent introduction to Billie Holiday and the song. I think it treats the subject of lynching with the respect it deserves, while also not being too much for the age group it is aimed at to handle. While I didn't like this as much as his previous book about Jimi Hendrix, this book is an excellent introduction to Billie Holiday and the song. I think it treats the subject of lynching with the respect it deserves, while also not being too much for the age group it is aimed at to handle.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    When we think of the fight for Civil Rights, two time periods come to mind. One isnthe far off historical, with abolitionists and the Underground Railroad, ending in the ‘emancipation’ around the time of the civil war. The second is the time of the protests and activists during the 60s, fighting for de-segregation. “Strange Fruit” shows us that while not as widely spoken of, or as well known, in the period between the two ‘Civil’ eras many people still dreamed of - and were willing to work towar When we think of the fight for Civil Rights, two time periods come to mind. One isnthe far off historical, with abolitionists and the Underground Railroad, ending in the ‘emancipation’ around the time of the civil war. The second is the time of the protests and activists during the 60s, fighting for de-segregation. “Strange Fruit” shows us that while not as widely spoken of, or as well known, in the period between the two ‘Civil’ eras many people still dreamed of - and were willing to work toward - creating a more equal world for everyone. “Strange Fruit” is the biography of not only legendary singer Billie Holiday, but one of the most impactful songs of the 20th century. Opening with her troubled childhood, the book quickly takes us to 1939, when Ms. Holiday was approached by a man named Abel Meeropol about a song he’d written a few days before. He had written the lyrics after he saw seeing the photograph of a man who had been lynched, and found himself haunted by the image. Although unsure at first, after seeing the emotional impact it had on an audience she added it to her act as the closing number - and it quickly became one of her most famous and best selling songs, despite the fact that no radio station at the time would play it. It’s amazing to think of how something as simple as a song can have such an impact on so many people, and have such a profound emotional effect. Even today, decades after the songs’ debut, current events still (sadly) make the lyrics resonate with the listeners and readers, despite the growth we’d hoped our society had made since then. It seems a bit odd that you get more of a brief summary of Ms. Holidays background than details about her life, but this is the biography more of the song rather than the singer in many ways. The paintings that illustrate this book are beautiful as well, full of bold, rich colours. The artist has a very unique style, and I think it’s well suited to showing Ms. Holiday and her story - the expressiveness of the artwork and the text make it easy for readers to get a glimpse of the impact the song must have had on listeners those first few times it was heard.

  12. 4 out of 5

    alana

    Great intro to Billie Holiday, the concept and danger of performing protest songs, as well as the specific song "Strange Fruit." Full lyrics are included at the end, though one moving illustration has lyrics painted into it. Brief bio of Billie at the end including arrests and drug abuse. I'm trying to put my finger on why I'm happy these details are included. I think partially because they relate to the interactions of opportunities with systematic racism and poverity as well as the intersectio Great intro to Billie Holiday, the concept and danger of performing protest songs, as well as the specific song "Strange Fruit." Full lyrics are included at the end, though one moving illustration has lyrics painted into it. Brief bio of Billie at the end including arrests and drug abuse. I'm trying to put my finger on why I'm happy these details are included. I think partially because they relate to the interactions of opportunities with systematic racism and poverity as well as the intersection of creativity and mental health. I'm still working through that bit though. For the right situation and audience, this book could be a great discussion starter. Notes to my art teacher self: This would pair well in art lessons with Joseph Norman's Strange Fruit (and could expand to include the recent transformation of Monument Ave. and Kehinde Wiley's "Rumors of War").

  13. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I read this to my third grade music classes this week, gently bringing up what lynching is (not too many gory details). They equated her story to that of Martin Luther King Jr. The story is simple enough to be understood by third graders, but also profound. My students and I had great discussions about how a song can be difficult to sing but still so important, and how the treatment of black people was not/is not fair. Great book for Black History Month!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Meet Billie Holiday a light skinned singer who gained fame at 15, performing in her first night club job. Meet Abel Meeropol, a Jewish teacher/songwriter who wrote a song called Strange Fruit. Strange Fruit, a song that would shake the world to its core. Billie's powerful voice forced people to face the music, and Abel's powerful lyrics, brought about change. Meet Billie Holiday a light skinned singer who gained fame at 15, performing in her first night club job. Meet Abel Meeropol, a Jewish teacher/songwriter who wrote a song called Strange Fruit. Strange Fruit, a song that would shake the world to its core. Billie's powerful voice forced people to face the music, and Abel's powerful lyrics, brought about change.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Donovan

    I think the storytelling is abrupt, even harsh at times..." The audience loved Billie's voice so much they threw money right onto the floor. It was a bright beginning." The illustrations are beautiful. I think the storytelling is abrupt, even harsh at times..." The audience loved Billie's voice so much they threw money right onto the floor. It was a bright beginning." The illustrations are beautiful.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Neer

    Use this powerful picture book with topics of Social Justice, Jazz and Civil Rights for middle school students. Do remember to read the author notes as well.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    This is a great picture book for older readers. This tells the story or Billie Holiday and Abel Meerpol coming together to create music. This book tells the story of challenging racism. These two people of different color came together and paved the way for the civil rights movement. The illustrations were also very colorful and unique.

  18. 5 out of 5

    K.C. Gardner

    The art is beautiful and the story touching. There are facts in the back.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kasey Fernandez

    This is a truly brave and important story that brings to light a part of history that many choose to ignore.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Beautiful illustrations. The text does not shy away from the hard truths of "Strange Fruit" or Billie Holiday's life, but still remains appropriate for older children. Beautiful illustrations. The text does not shy away from the hard truths of "Strange Fruit" or Billie Holiday's life, but still remains appropriate for older children.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    Billie Holiday had survived a rough childhood that saw her jailed at age 14 and become a successful jazz singer. Despite her success though, she was still forbidden to do things that her white band members were allowed. She had to hide in rooms, take freight elevators and pretend to be someone different in order to stay in hotels and not sleep on the tour bus. This was all dangerous and eventually she quit. She found a new place to sing in Cafe Society, the first jazz club that welcomed African- Billie Holiday had survived a rough childhood that saw her jailed at age 14 and become a successful jazz singer. Despite her success though, she was still forbidden to do things that her white band members were allowed. She had to hide in rooms, take freight elevators and pretend to be someone different in order to stay in hotels and not sleep on the tour bus. This was all dangerous and eventually she quit. She found a new place to sing in Cafe Society, the first jazz club that welcomed African-American audience members. It was there that she was given the song, Strange Fruit, a song that would become her best-known work. A song that was so powerful that it was met with silence the first time she sang it. A song that would come to speak to a new generation as they stand together today. Golio has taken a song that is about lynching and turned it into a picture book. It’s a daring subject for a book for young readers, yet he makes it entirely understandable. He uses notes at the end of the book to continue Holiday’s story and also speak about lynching and its history in the United States. The bulk of the picture book is about Holiday’s struggles in the 1930s with pervasive racism and the way that this song spoke to her personal experience and that of all African-Americans. The illustrations are deep and powerful. They show the pain of racism, the power of song, the energy of a performance and the drama of silence and darkness. Done in acrylic paint and tissue collage, they have a wild freedom of line that works well with the intense subject matter. An important picture book about a song that has transcended generations and speaks to the struggles of today and yesterday. Appropriate for ages 7-11.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Casandria

    Startlingly raw depiction of the song "Strange Fruit" and how Billie Holiday came to be known for singing it. Startlingly raw depiction of the song "Strange Fruit" and how Billie Holiday came to be known for singing it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    Charlotte Riley-Webb's swirling, pulsating illustrations are vivid and filled with intensity but Golio's text is disappointing. I understand this is written for younger readers but there is very little about lynching in this book, either in the story or in the author's note, even though it's supposed to be a story about one of the most powerful statements ever made on that evil American legacy. How about recommending some readings or websites about lynching? How about Chris Crowe's excellent boo Charlotte Riley-Webb's swirling, pulsating illustrations are vivid and filled with intensity but Golio's text is disappointing. I understand this is written for younger readers but there is very little about lynching in this book, either in the story or in the author's note, even though it's supposed to be a story about one of the most powerful statements ever made on that evil American legacy. How about recommending some readings or websites about lynching? How about Chris Crowe's excellent book about Emmet Till? Tackling a subject like lynching in a book for young people is commendable but it's handled too gingerly here.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amy Nicole

    This short book is part autobiography, part explanation of Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday. This book was a nice introduction to Billie Holiday's song, but I really would have liked more detail within the story as to the impact that the song had. Considering how chilling and poignant the song itself is, I expected a similar tone in the book. This would still be a nice way to share protest songs with upper elementary students, though. I received a copy of this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for This short book is part autobiography, part explanation of Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday. This book was a nice introduction to Billie Holiday's song, but I really would have liked more detail within the story as to the impact that the song had. Considering how chilling and poignant the song itself is, I expected a similar tone in the book. This would still be a nice way to share protest songs with upper elementary students, though. I received a copy of this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    MICHAEL FLOYD

    I would recommend this for all to read. A lot of People don't know what Black People had to endure in this Country just to Survive and make a Living. I would recommend this for all to read. A lot of People don't know what Black People had to endure in this Country just to Survive and make a Living.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Daniels

    A stirring, beautifully written rendition of childhood and early career of Blues songstress Billie Holiday. Billie's rough life was fueled by her love of jazz music and her desire to sing. She refused to scrub floors like her mother. She had a plan to be somebody. Her singing in New York City nightclubs moved listeners to throw money at Billie's feet while she sang. Her voice was her instrument and she could improvise with her voice to play with the melody and lyrics of the instruments, she simp A stirring, beautifully written rendition of childhood and early career of Blues songstress Billie Holiday. Billie's rough life was fueled by her love of jazz music and her desire to sing. She refused to scrub floors like her mother. She had a plan to be somebody. Her singing in New York City nightclubs moved listeners to throw money at Billie's feet while she sang. Her voice was her instrument and she could improvise with her voice to play with the melody and lyrics of the instruments, she simply sang more than the words on the page. The story recounts things Billie had to do to not be mistaken for a white woman. The Jim Crow laws of that time made Billie's life more complicated than it already was. After the creation of a new club called Café Society enabled blacks to be customers, giving them the best seats in the house, finally opened in December 1938. Barney Josephson hired Lady Day to perform at Café Society and gave her the best musicians to back her. She helped make the club an immediate success. Barney was visited by Abel Meeropol, a high school teacher and songwriter. Abel was the son of Jewish immigrants and was upset with the display of racism and violence against Negroes in America. Haunted by a photograph, he put pen to paper and wrote a song he called "Strange Fruit." The song was about lynching. Billie did not care for the song after hearing Abel sing it and was uncertain of the meaning of all of the words. She decided to perform the song for because the newly opened café stood for freedom, and so she did sing the song as a favor to Barney, her employer! When she performed this new song singing Abel's words with her voice at a party at an apartment. Wondering what people would think, she immediately knew when the party of people became quiet and unsmiling, she had an answer. Barney convinced Billie that the song "Strange Fruit" would always be the last song of her set with no encores and directed her to leave the stage after singing it. Billie's notoriety increased after she debuted the song in early 1939. It made her a star, but her record company refused to record the song. Another independent jazz label recorded the song and it sold one million copies. It became her best selling record as well as her signature song though radio stations refused to play it. This song brought attention to a problem of racism and spoke to millions of Americans desiring for a civil and just society in which to live. Billie's cooperation in singing Abel's song. The book includes a brief biography of Billie Holiday, a selected Bibliography and source notes listed by the author. I think I want to add this book to my personal collection of books at home. The art work is quite fitting for the story and this book is beautifully done.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song is a children's picture book written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb. It is a cursory biography Billie Holiday and her protest song "Strange Fruit" came to be. February, at least in my part of the world is Black History Month, which I plan to read one children's book, particularly a biography, which pertains to the subject everyday this month. Therefore, I thought that this book would be apropos for today. Eleanora Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song is a children's picture book written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb. It is a cursory biography Billie Holiday and her protest song "Strange Fruit" came to be. February, at least in my part of the world is Black History Month, which I plan to read one children's book, particularly a biography, which pertains to the subject everyday this month. Therefore, I thought that this book would be apropos for today. Eleanora Fagan, better known as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz singer with a career spanning nearly thirty years. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills. Golio's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and informative. It details how the song Strange Fruit was created. The song was based on a poem written by Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants, about lynching and how Billie Holiday and Abel Meeropol came together to combine their talents to make an unforgettable protest song. Riley-Webb's illustrations are wonderfully drawn and hauntingly and colorfully depicted the narrative extremely well. The premise of the book is rather straightforward. It chronicles the makings of the song "Strange Fruit", however extremely cursory. Since the song is about lynching and this is a children's book, the subject matter of the song was not dwelled upon for too long. Most of the book was devoted to a mini-biography to Billie Holiday, the singer and to Abel Meercopol, the writer and how they came together to make this song. All in all, Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song is a wonderful brief biography about Billie Holiday and Abel Meeropol and their collaboration to make an iconic protest song.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Gary Golio's fondness for music and his awareness that songs can have an impact on listeners, often opening their hearts to what's wrong in the world around them, result in this account about one song. The book provides a brief introduction to the life and times of jazz and blues singer Billie Holiday and how she came to sing a protest song that was a departure from her usual material. The song, "Strange Fruit," was written by Abe Meeropol, a teacher enraged by a photo of a lynching he had seen. Gary Golio's fondness for music and his awareness that songs can have an impact on listeners, often opening their hearts to what's wrong in the world around them, result in this account about one song. The book provides a brief introduction to the life and times of jazz and blues singer Billie Holiday and how she came to sing a protest song that was a departure from her usual material. The song, "Strange Fruit," was written by Abe Meeropol, a teacher enraged by a photo of a lynching he had seen. Holiday took a risk by singing that song, which raised listeners' awareness of how things were handled in various parts of the country when it came to the law. While I would have liked to have had more information about Meeropol provided, this is the story of the song and not him or Holiday so the focus is justifiably on the reaction to that song. There is additional information about Holiday in the back matter as well as a "What Happened Next" section. The expressive illustrations utilize acrylic paint and tissue collage to mimic the rhythm of music and the beats that fill our senses, sometimes prompting social changes. Golio seems to take care not to offend readers with graphic details about lynching, and yet, that's what the song is about so it's hard to bring up the topic without developing it more. Still, I'm glad to see the song getting attention. I always enjoy stories that provide the background of songs, books, political movements, anything that makes us think, and this book does just that. The inclusion of the song's lyrics helps readers understand just how provocative the song was, especially for those times, 1939.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura N

    I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song tells the story of Abel Meeropol’s song “Strange Fruit” made famous by singer Billie Holiday. I really like non-fiction picture books. They make historical events and individuals accessible to young children. Non-fiction books can be daunting for new readers. They are usually thicker than what they normally read, have a lot of words and not very ma I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song tells the story of Abel Meeropol’s song “Strange Fruit” made famous by singer Billie Holiday. I really like non-fiction picture books. They make historical events and individuals accessible to young children. Non-fiction books can be daunting for new readers. They are usually thicker than what they normally read, have a lot of words and not very many pictures. Picture book versions are a familiar format and the pictures themselves are likely to draw children to them. Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song does just that. The illustrations are bold and their colors reflect the tone of the story. It deals with a difficult subject, but does so in a way that is conscious of its audience’s age. My one complaint is the book’s lack of background on Billie Holiday. The book is geared towards elementary aged children and I’m not sure that those who pick it up will be familiar with Billie Holiday and be able to place her within the context of the era in which she lived. The information at the end of the book gives a great biography of her, but I think that information would have been a good addition to the story. For me, the book seemed to start in the middle of things. For this reason, I would recommend it as an addition read for books that gives more information about the historical period and Billie Holiday.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jess Bergoine

    Summary: "Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song" begins by telling the story of Billie Holidays' young life. It continues by touching upon the discrimination that Billie endured during her singing career due to her skin color. The most moving part of the books is when Billie Holiday sings the powerful song "Strange Fruit," written by Abel Meeropol, to challenge racism. Review: "Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song" is such a stunning picture book. Summary: "Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song" begins by telling the story of Billie Holidays' young life. It continues by touching upon the discrimination that Billie endured during her singing career due to her skin color. The most moving part of the books is when Billie Holiday sings the powerful song "Strange Fruit," written by Abel Meeropol, to challenge racism. Review: "Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song" is such a stunning picture book. Not only are the illustrations gorgeous, but the tough subject matter presents appropriately. I think this book would be better for older children who have a better understanding of racism. This book has become one of my favorite new additions to my collection! Pair: I would pair the book, "Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song," with the book, "Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer," by Carol Boston Weatherford. Both of these books tell the stories of women who used their voices to address discrimination. I think it's essential for children to learn about many different people and events that are important to fighting racism. Quote: One powerful quote from the book is, "That night, waiters froze in place. People stopped talking, and the room was dimmed to near darkness." On this page, the illustration of Billie Holiday singing the iconic lyrics of the song is very moving. The idea that everyone was silent and touched by this song is incredible. I like how this quote and illustration allow children to not only feel but visualize the impact this song had.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...