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Odetta: The Queen of Folk
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Odetta: The Queen of Folk

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  58 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
A picture book that shines light on the indomitable life of one of the most influential American folksingers in the history of our country.

In the spirit of WHEN MARIAN SANG, this book introduces young readers to Odetta, an American folk legend. Lyrical text and striking paintings tell the story of the incredible singer whose life and works inspired such icons as Bob Dylan,
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Scholastic Press
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Jan 06, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
"Odetta couldn't just sing, she could sang."

I'm reserving some Odetta right now!
Adrian Wade
Aug 11, 2016 Adrian Wade rated it really liked it
Odetta: The Queen of Folk takes the universal relationship between human and music and produces a strong and vibrant story about inclusion, growth, and creativity. The phrase "one soul's noise is another soul's music" is brought about in the beginning of the book as foreshadowing the horrid events of separation that are about to occur for Odetta's family. The author references the black and white keys of the piano to the outside world's current issues of blending races. I appreciated this form o ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I hesitated to read this simply because I'd never heard of this woman before. But I'm glad I did! Odetta Holmes was a black folk singer born in 1930 in Birmingham, Alabama. She began her musical career by playing the piano, but her tunes weren't too pleasing to her family, so she turned to singing instead. She also played the guitar in a unique way, called "the Odetta strum." This is one book that should have come with a CD of her music, because now I've got to hear her. Fortunately, a list of O ...more
Mar 05, 2013 Pam rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books-ya
This beautifully illustrated and poetically told picture book about Odetta Holmes can be shared with young students just on its language and colorful pictures alone. It's a kid-friendly biography of 1960s era black folk singer, Odetta Holmes. Classically trained, Ms. Holmes became known during the Civil Rights movement as a folk singer, although her songs actually blend spirituals, jazz, and blues. She performed at Carnegie Hall and the Newport Folk Festival, as well as at various Civil Rights p ...more
Feb 27, 2013 Catherine rated it really liked it
Audience: Odette applies to both boys and girls, more so girls because they are more likely to pick this book up based on the cover. This book can shed a lot of light on Folk music and culture along with its rich history to all who reads it.

Appeal: The words and phrases come off onto the page so well it is like magic. The colors of the pictures matched the rich history and tone of the story so well. The pictures carries the audience step-by-step gracefully through the story giving off the perfec
I really enjoyed the illustrations for this book. They really convey a lyrical quality. The poem was nice too though I would have liked more facts. I wanted it to be more of a biography, but that just isn't the purpose of this book I guess.

I appreciated this review from The Happy Nappy Bookseller http://thehappynappybookseller.blogsp... because it pointed out something that I was wondering when I read it. They discuss the nickname Burning Ham. I was wondering if the name would be linked to the
Sophie Daniel
Feb 26, 2012 Sophie Daniel rated it really liked it
This was a great book for children to learn about the culture of African Americans and what they went through when they first came to America. It discusses the singing in the fields, prison songs, and other music to make life beautiful. Odetta at the time was facing segregation and wasn't sure how to handle it and didn't really know what was going on. Odetta grew up to love the piano and wanted to sing to create something sensational and beautiful. She ignored the Jim Crow laws, saying that even ...more
Paul Farbman
Apr 26, 2014 Paul Farbman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Second-Third Grade
There is powerful use of symbolism in this story. Musical concepts such as black and white keys working together in harmony are representative of Odetta's feelings about people. Line and shape are used in the illustrations to divide highly complex patterns of colors and images that make them truly eye-catching.

This book describes all of Odetta's inspirations for her music. These include sounds she heard in the cotton fields and chain gangs near her home, and the gospel music in her church. She a
Mar 15, 2011 Nick rated it really liked it
This book-length poem about Odetta and her life is a real treat. While it would be difficult for kids to use this book for a biography report, with its limited organization of facts and figures, it is a good introduction to the reasons why she made her music. The barely-credited poet, Samantha Thornhill, turned in an excellent job. The book was apparently the idea of artist Stephen Alcorn, whose illustrations fill every page. Reading the book is like watching the notes of a spiritual taking flig ...more
Feb 24, 2014 Randy rated it really liked it
This is the story of Odetta, who became an icon within the folk music world. This is her life told in poetry, from her early beginnings in the south to her rise and growing following. The images and words come together to tell about this influential musician.

I picked this book up because it related to the lessons I was teaching on Black History Month.

I finished the book within one period.

I would recommend this book to music lovers. I think Aiyana would like this book because it would give here a
Odetta Holmes is a folk music legend who received numerous awards and honors during her 54-year career. Her innovative work influenced other musical greats like Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. Through his beautiful illustrations and poetry, Stephen Alcorn, a long-time friend and admirer of Odetta's, creates a loving tribute to her work and life.

While I think the poetry seems forced at times, Alcorn celebrates Odetta's musical and humanitarian legacy.
This is a cool book. The context is biographical of course, but the poetry of Stephen Alcorn is both alarmingly concise and illuminating. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book. The endnotes reveal an understanding of the book's subject that few biographers can claim. Overall, this book is good for anyone that wants to read good poetry, learn more about folk music, read a good biography, or marvel at some unusually stylish illustration. It's a very good read.
Lin Lin
I have never heard of Odetta Holmes until I read about her in this book. She was one of the brigest stars of the 1960s folk music renaissance. Bob Dylan gave her credit for inspiring him to enter into the folk music world with an acoustic guitar. She was before Marian Anderson, another legendary singer for civil rights and justice.
Aug 18, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
'What to name this little ball of star stuff and song and light straight from God's eye? Odetta. The perfect name for a star this brown and this bright!' This is the story of the life of Odetta Holmes, one of the brightest stars of the folk music renaissance.
Jun 08, 2011 Bdalton rated it liked it
I loved, loved, loved the illustrations in this book, but liked the text less. There was some repetition that didn't add to the storyline or create a meaningful pattern. Also, while I learned something about Odetta, what was given, wasn't enough. I wanted more details about her life.
Beth Baryon
After reading this picture book biography, I have little more than a vague concept of Odetta, and I can barely remember the book after reading it twice.
Jan 25, 2011 Marie rated it really liked it
Poetically written. Wonderfully illustrated. May be hard for younger audiences to grasp the story, but an excellent introduction to the amazing Odetta.
Katie Fitzgerald
Read for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Reviewed on my blog:
Tachelle Rich
Mar 30, 2016 Tachelle Rich rated it it was amazing
got for my son from the library. it is a great book for all to read. beautiful pictures and it was a good and fun read for him. recommend it to parents to
Michael Fitzgerald
Feb 01, 2016 Michael Fitzgerald rated it did not like it
Basically useless as a biography. I'm not sure what it is useful for. It seems to be just a random hodge-podge of all the usual suspect images accompanied by jive text that has no real meaning.
Sep 10, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Gorgeous, fascinating illustrations; interesting and intriguing topic; and only adequate writing. I feel like this book could have been AMAZING. It fell a little short of that goal.
Bvlmc Buchanan Verplanck Elementary School
The pictorial biography told in a mix of verse, rhyme and prose of an innovative folk musician and civil rights activist.
Barbara Lovejoy
Oct 06, 2014 Barbara Lovejoy rated it really liked it
A very unusual style of writing. I couldn't decide whether I liked it or not. Yet, it was fun to learn about this amazing woman.
Andrew rated it liked it
Sep 22, 2015
Jaime rated it it was ok
Oct 16, 2011
Jennifer rated it liked it
Dec 15, 2010
Aug 31, 2012 Beth rated it it was ok
Gorgeous illustrations
Kelly rated it liked it
Mar 31, 2011
Donna K
Donna K rated it really liked it
Jan 11, 2011
Chase rated it it was amazing
Jan 05, 2016
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Studied in Florence, Italy. Currently lives in Cambridge, New York with his wife Sabina and his two daughters.
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