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Publisher's Summary

This illuminating and defining biography, adapted for audio, tells the story of little Eunice who grew up to become the acclaimed singer Nina Simone and her bold, defiant, and exultant legacy.

Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in small-town North Carolina, Nina Simone was a musical child. She sang before she talked and learned to play piano at a very young age. With the support of her family and community, she received music lessons that introduced her to classical composers like Bach who remained with her and influenced her music throughout her life. She loved the way his music began softly and then tumbled to thunder, like her mother's preaching, and in much the same way as her career.

During her first performances under the name of Nina Simone, her voice was rich and sweet, but as the Civil Rights Movement gained steam, Nina's voice soon became a thunderous roar as she raised her voice in powerful protest in the fight against racial inequality and discrimination.

©2021 Traci Todd (P)2021 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

A 2022 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
A 2022 ALA Notable Children’s Book
A 2022 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award Winner
A 2022 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Finalist
A 2022 ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project List Pick
A 2022 NCTE/CLA Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts Award Winner
A 2022 ILA Notable Book for a Global Society Award Winner
A 2022 NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book Pick
A 2021 Publishers Weekly Best Book
A 2021 Kirkus Best Book
A 2021 Horn Book Fanfare List Pick
A 2021 Booklist Editors' Choice
A 2021 New York Public Library Best Book Pick
A 2021 Chicago Public Library Best Book Pick
A 2021 Black Caucus American Library Association Best of the Best Booklist Pick

Luminous . . . [and] visually rapturous . . . Robinson imbues Nina with sumptuous colors . . . His elegantly simple figures recall the work of Ezra Jack Keats and occasionally Charles M. Schulz. . . Simone’s precocity, which shines through . . . is nurtured in intimate moments sitting on her father’s lap at the keyboard, letting him guide her as they play “good-time jazz” together, and on Sundays when she provides the rhythmic and “rolling” accompaniment to her minister mother’s sermons. Todd brings nuance to Simone’s musicianship in ways that should prove instructive to curious young readers. . . The journey to merge her astonishing virtuosity and professional achievements with her bold activism is summed up by the arresting portrait of the artist seated at her baby grand and flanked by four little Black girls.” —The New York Times Book Review 

“Todd’s telling shines in this skillfully paced portrait of Eunice Kathleen Waymon (1933-2003)—more widely known by her stage name of Nina Simone—which traces her journey from a piano-playing child in North Carolina to later years as a performer, protest song pioneer, and civil rights activist. . . An engaging, affecting, and powerful biography that aptly situates Simone’s enduring legacy in musical and social history.” —Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

"Todd’s musical prose allows readers into Nina’s perspective, and Robinson’s scenes and portraits absolutely sing with energy, keeping pace perfectly with the text. . . Do not miss this complex story of an American legend.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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Lovely

Delightful story of a beautiful songbird and lyrical pianist. Nina Simone is fantastic and children should know about her. An inspiration and a message about not giving up and working to achieve dreams and goals.