Monday, July 20, 2020

A VOICE NAMED ARETHA by Katheryn Russel-Brown. Illus. by Laura Freeman.  New York:  Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2020, 32p. ISBN 978-168119850-7 hc. $17.99    Gr. 2-5     J 921

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Aretha was born to a pastor and a nurse who encouraged the children to sing in the church choir.  Aretha’s voice made her a standout.  By the time she was ten years old, Aretha was singing solos and soon joined her father’s traveling ministry, called the Gospel Caravan.  She signed a record deal at age eighteen and soon became a smart business woman.  In 1967, Aretha signed on with Atlantic Records and released a string of hit songs, including “Respect” and “Chain of Fools.”  She became known as the Queen of Soul and “was the first woman voted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”  Aretha inspired everyone with her songs and remained influential in the music industry until her death in 2018.  Biographical Notes can be found at the end of the book, along with a list of her most famous songs.  The illustrations are bold and bright, somewhat like Aretha Franklin, herself.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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