Becoming Billie Holiday

Becoming Billie Holiday

In ninety-seven poems using the titles from Billie Holiday's song list, the first twenty-five years of Billie Holiday's life are celebrated. It wasn't always an easy life and she grew up fast and much too early, but she found herself in song. Billie, born Eleanora Fagan, was never in one place for a long time. Her mother kept her and shipped her off dramatically depending on the state of the family fortunes. Her father, Clarence Holiday, kept to the fringes of her life for the most part. Billie met drink, drugs and brothels by the time she was twelve. She also found the wonder of the movies and the gift that was her voice. Putting the two together she acted the part of a much older girl/woman and began singing in the bars and clubs wowing all with her sultry sound. The book ends before her life soared downward and her beautiful voice is heard and felt in every smoky, hopeful, troubled poetic line.

117 pages 978-1590785072 Ages 14 and up

Recommended by: Barb Langridge,


The stunning voice and hard life of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday is revealed through evocative, accessible poetry.

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 to become a 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. Through a sequence of raw and poignant poems, New York Times best-selling and award-winning poet Carole Boston Weatherford chronicles the singer's young life, her fight for survival, and the dream she pursued with passion.---from the publisher

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