Sunday, January 13, 2019

LIBBA: THE MAGNIFICENT MUSICAL LIFE OF ELIZABETH COTTEN by Laura Viers. Illus. by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-4521-4857-1 hc. $17.99 Gr. 1-3 JUV NF 921

Elizabeth Cotten was one of America's gifted folk musicians, but her story followed an unconventional and sometimes bumpy road. Learning to play guitar at a young age, self taught on a backwards and upside-down guitar, Libba (short for Elizabeth) also learned the banjo and wrote her most famous song, Freight Train, at age 11. She was not truly discovered until later in life when she came to work for the famous musical Seeger family. This story follows the life of an African American woman through the early 1900's and the challenges they faced because of their darker skin color. Though there were few opportunities for a young black female musician in her early years, Elizabeth put down the guitar until her 40's when she was finally able to spend the next forty years writing, touring and sharing her joy of music with the world.
Charlotte Dugas, Retired Director, Munising School Public Library

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