Book Review: Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century by Carole Boston Weatherford

This beautiful picture book was provided by the publisher and we wanted to make sure the right audience had the opportunity to review it. We asked Ms. Leger from Leger's Ledger to provide a guest review, as she is a middle-grade reading teacher.

Summary: A stunning picture-book biography of iconic African American opera star Leontyne Price.

Born in a small town in Mississippi in 1927, the daughter of a midwife and a sawmill worker, Leontyne Price might have grown up singing the blues. But Leontyne had big dreams—and plenty to be thankful for—as she surrounded herself with church hymns and hallelujahs, soaked up opera arias on the radio, and watched the great Marian Anderson grace the stage. 
           
While racism made it unlikely that a poor black girl from the South would pursue an opera career, Leontyne’s wondrous voice and unconquerable spirit prevailed. Bursting through the door Marian had cracked open, Leontyne was soon recognized and celebrated for her leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera and around the world—most notably as the majestic Ethiopian princess in Aida, the part she felt she was born to sing.

From award-winners Carole Boston Weatherford and Raul Col√≥n comes the story of a little girl from Mississippi who became a beloved star—one whose song soared on the breath of her ancestors and paved the way for those who followed.

Release Date:  December 2014
Age Group: Middle Grade
Source: Publisher
Reviewed By: Ms. Leger 

Review:
When a good picture book that appeals to my middle grade students comes out, I am always excited. I had never heard of Leontyne Price and the illustrations throughout this book are beautiful. After reading about her I decided to add her biography to my list of African Americans I use during Black History Month. Her story fit perfectly into my lessons for BHM and also allowed me to introduce Opera to my students. 

For my lesson, I read this book to my 6th grade students and shared several YouTube videos of Leontyne Price during different eras of her life. They were fascinated by her story and some later reported that they went home and researched her further.  Although many of them were not familiar with Opera, they were still impressed with her achievements.
     
The story of Leontyne Price has now become one of the many biography's that my students will study for BHM. I purchased biography cards from Teachers-Pay-Teachers that focus on the historical significance of specific African-Americans; a fellow teacher helped to create and add a new biography card for Ms. Price. Click HERE to see a copy of the added card.

In short, this is a beautifully illustrated picture book and can be read simply for its appearance or it can be used as a creative tool to introduce opera or an African American pioneer or for Women's History themes.

Thank you for the welcomed addition to our classroom!

Ms. Leger
(pronounced "lay-jay")

*image source: goodreads.com

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