Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell

21 Jan

Today I shall celebrate Josephines. Yes Josephines plural! For today is my little sister Josie’s 10th birthday and I decided to review a great biography of a great lady who shared the same first name – Josephine!

josephineJosephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

By Patricia Hruby Powell

Illustrated by Christian Robinson

104 pages – ages 7+

Published by Chronicle Books on January 14, 2014

Josephine Baker loved to dance. As a young girl in poverty in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine danced to keep warm (for she had no stockings). Ms. Baker grew up in a time of segregation and didn’t have the chances that she would have if she were white. Josephine decided she would show the world and make it as a dancer and performer. When given the chance, young Ms. Baker hooked up with some vaudeville performers as a dancer. Her energy and out right silliness stole the show from the other dancers. When denied access to join the troupe on their voyage to Europe, Josephine sneaked on board to get away from segregated America. Nothing would stop Josephine. In France, Josephine soon became a star, and became even more famous throughout her travels in Europe. She even became a spy for France during World War II. She lived her dream.

First I have to say, you pretty much feel like dancing after reading this book! This is an awesome biography about a person I’d never heard of before and  I learned a lot. Ms. Baker sounds like she was a great person. Larger than life, like they say. I like how she adopted 12 children from around the world and raised them in their own cultures and religion. That was neat. I also think that Ms. Powell described the culture of segregation that Ms. Baker grew up in very well and showed how Josephine Baker overcame it and rose above it. The form of the  book is nice too. I like the way some words are emphasized by capitalization and it is told in a cool prose. That was a nice touch. I find it cool that Ms. Baker had a leopard. Christian Robinson’s illustrations are amazing and magnificent and capture Ms. Baker’s spirit very well.


I’d recommend this book to people of all ages!

To learn more about Ms. Powell and her other books, please visit her website HERE.

To learn more about this Mr. Robinson and his other illustrations, please visit his website HERE.

Here is a cool fact, yesterday’s Martin Luther King Jr.Day’s  Google Doodle was created by Mr. Robinson – click HERE!

For Josephine Baker activities and a printable poster and an excerpt from the book, visit Chronicle Books HERE!

Check out the trailer for the book!


I give “Josephine” five out of five bookworms!

With Multicultural Children’s Book Day coming up on January 27th, this is a great choice for reading!


Who has the same great spirit as the Josephine in this book!


42 Responses to “Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell”

  1. Angela Brown January 21, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    Happy Birthday to Josie!! And I agree, Josephine Baker lived a remarkable life. Circumstances weren’t their best but she refused to have her dream denied and even did her part in helping the country she lived in.


  2. jama January 21, 2014 at 7:53 am #

    Whoa — Happy Birthday, Josie! Love those very cool pink boots!

    Fabulous idea to feature two Josephine’s today, Erik. I’ve had this PB in my TBR pile for awhile and loved reading your review. Didn’t realize she adopted 12 children. 🙂


    • thiskidreviewsbooks January 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

      We got those boots in New Mexico (she’s leaning on the wall of the building we got them at). 🙂
      I think you would like “Josephine” Ms. Rattigan!


  3. ontheplumtree January 21, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    This looks fabulous! It’s an amazing thing to be a dancer. (It was my first career.) And it sounds as though it doesn’t stop there. What an exciting life! And Happy Birthday Josephine! You are growing up! And you like a performer. Great post, Erik!


  4. Lynn A. Davidson January 21, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    Great review, Erik. It is amazing what some people do to overcome and how they push through. Great inspiration.



  5. KidLitReviews January 21, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    “Happy Birthday ti you Josie!”

    I have this book waiting for review. I have seen a movie about Ms. Baker but this picture book is fantastic in the way it celebrates Ms. Baker’s life, going into things the movie never did. For a picture book it has a lot of pages and a lot of information.

    You did a wonderful job with the review, Erik. You must also have a lot of multicultural books in your queue to do two in a row, with needing one for next week’s Multicultural Day. I am curious as to what book you’ll review on the 27th. (And yes, this is a win for you). 🙂


    • thiskidreviewsbooks January 21, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

      Well, apparently, they want the posts BEFORE the 27th (according to Mom) so I am posting my MCCBD pick tomorrow. 🙂 This is a great book! 😀


  6. Beth Stilborn January 21, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    Happy birthday, Josie! Double digits! WOOHOOOO!

    This sounds like a great book, Erik. Thanks for sharing it with us! Enjoy celebrating Josie’s birthday!


  7. LovableLobo January 21, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    First things first….HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSIE! It is awesome that you included your sister! Great review, Superkid. Great book to share about a spectacular woman!


  8. Patricia Tilton January 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    Josephine certainly had a love of life and lived it to its fullest. What a fascinating biography! Must look it up. Such a great share today on Josie’s 10th birthday. Love that pose Josie! My grandmother’s name was Josephine, was born in 1896 and lived to be 90. A very regal name. Happy Birthday Josie!


  9. Joanna January 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Josie, and what a great book to review on her birthday. I knew nothing about Ms Baker!


  10. julie rowan zoch January 21, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    Oh, man! I CANNOT wait to read this book! But I like to wait, so I will not look up and read your review til later. BUT, you know you can’t get rid of me – I’ll be back!


    • thiskidreviewsbooks January 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

      No no no. You are supposed to say that dramatically. “I’LL be BAAACKkkkk” *voice trails off* 😉 MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!


  11. Laura Jackson January 21, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    This book sounds great Erik …a great story of triumph over adversity and giving back to society. I’m going to try really hard to get it for my children, though it doesn’t seem to be easily available in the UK – Grrrrrrr!


  12. readingwithrhythm January 21, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    Well, Happy Day to Miss Josie!!! I feel like dancing right now!! The book and the music and birthday wishes are all coming together for some tail waggin’ fun! Enjoy your day Josie!!


  13. Genevieve Petrillo January 21, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    Yay! Happy Birthday, Josie! You look like you’ve got some moves!

    Love and birthday licks,


  14. Catherine Johnson January 21, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    Happy Birthday to Josie! I’m terrible at history but I have heard of Josephine hooray! Looks like a great book. Cheers, Erik!


  15. Dave Eveleigh January 21, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    I’m a bit late for this party, but happy birthday, Josie 🙂

    And thanks for letting us know about this one, Erik.


  16. tinamcho January 22, 2014 at 3:53 am #

    Happy Birthday to your sister! Cool that you’re reading a book with the same name in honor of her. I’ve heard of this new book, and it looks dazzling! Thanks for sharing!


  17. stanleyandkatrina January 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    We LOVE this book, too, and just finished our own post about it!
    Yay, for Josie’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Josie!
    Your comment: “First I have to say, you pretty much feel like dancing after reading this book!” is spot on. Great review, Erik!
    ~Cool Mom


  18. Darlene January 23, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    So sorry I’m late but HAPPY BIRTHDAY Josie! What a perfect book to review on your amazing sister’s birthday. You are some awesome brother. Hope you had a nice family party. Hugs to Josie XO


    • thiskidreviewsbooks January 27, 2014 at 8:13 am #

      Josie says thank you! We did have a great family party and Josie had a friend party at the museum our mom works at. It was fun but I had to hang around with a bunch of third grade girls (UGH). 🙂


  19. Myra GB March 18, 2014 at 4:51 am #

    Belated happy birthday Josie! I think I have a few of Josephine Baker’s songs in my collection. Initially, I thought this was a PBB but apparently it’s a hundred pages long, so it’s more like an illustrated biography. Will be on the lookout for this one.



  1. Rebels of the Kasbah by Joe O’Neill | This Kid Reviews Books - January 27, 2014

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  2. #497 – Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell & Christian Robinson | Kid Lit Reviews - February 13, 2014

    […] See review by Erik, age 12 at […]


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