Monday, March 2, 2015

Up Close: Ella Fitzgerald by Tanya Lee Stone

How did fifteen year-old Ella Fitzgerald get locked up in New York, AWOL, and, while experiencing homelessness at seventeen, start gigging at the Savoy Ballroom?  Tanya Lee Stone’s Up Close: Ella Fitzgerald draws readers in by setting the record straight and taking the reader on a ride through the history Fitzgerald made as one of the most internationally successful jazz vocalists of all time.  Stone takes care to highlight some of Fitzgerald’s personal qualities and values that likely contributed to her incredible achievements and the author enthuses about Fitzgerald’s role in fighting the racial segregation she faced through the thirties, forties, fifties and sixties.  Readers who enjoy music and teen readers looking for true life stories of hard-won success will enjoy reading this independently.  Teachers and librarians looking for texts to recommend and utilize to supplement curriculum on women’s history, African-American history, American history, and jazz may enjoy this text as well.--Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Stone, Tanya Lee.  Up Close: Ella Fitzgerald.  New York: Penguin, 2008.

Click here for a discussion guide (comprehension questions and a few critical thinking questions) from the publisher.

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