Summary: The sounds of melodic music in Tyron, North Carolina was a gift identified at an early age for Eunice Kathleen Waymon. Growing up in a home where her father was a jazz musician and mother a church minister made the crossroad of life somewhat challenging for Eunice who later changed her name to “Nina Simone”. Nina attended Julliard School of Music in New York City which created opportunities to showcase her talent in the bustling times of the “Harlem Renaissance”. As a pianist she inherited the great ability from her father and later as a vocalist she became strong on demand in the night club. Nina experiences several upsetting moments throughout her journey which include segregation, discrimination, and sexism. She was known for her aggressive activism during the civil rights movement which played out in her music.
Strengths: This story is well written. The illustrations are beautiful and speak volume.
Weaknesses: The details of this story that have been included are plentiful, however parts of her life are excluded specifically her battle with mental health. Also, there is very little information about her personal life such as marital status, motherhood, and relationships.
Thoughts: This is a colorful biography for intermediate and middle grade students. There was room for “more” regarding the history of Nina Simone however the collaboration between the author and illustrator makes this biography stellar.