JOSEPHINE by Patricia Hruby Powell - GIVEAWAY!

Some books strike you as more than a book. The words and artwork refuse to stay on the page. They lift up and dance on your tongue, fill your ears with music, and send motion pictures before your eyes - swooping you away to another time and place like magic. So it is with JOSEPHINE written by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Christian Robinson. It the story of Josephine Baker was a dancer in the roaring 1920s before America was ready for an African American star like her, even though the world was.
      I'm thrilled to have Patricia stop by to tell us more about this fabulous lady and her new book...

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Q. Patricia, your a dancer yourself. Is that why you wrote in rhyme? The rhythm of your words is dance itself!
A. Yep, I’m a dancer. And that’s probably why I first knew about Josephine.

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Q. I love all the alliteration in the story - it makes me want to move. Are you sitting when you write? (I picture you spinning around your desk singing out "Razzmatazz" and such!)
A. Well, funny you should ask, Elizabeth. Yes, I’m sitting while I actually type on my laptop. But I did dance to help “channel” Josephine. That was some wild dancing that Josephine did. So then I’d go to the gym and get in the hot tub.

Q. This book is part picture book, biography, non-fiction... it's a hefty tome full of rhyme and rhythm. Who is your target audience? Who do you want to reach out to most with this story?
A. I was first inspired to write Josephine while in the children’s department of The Urbana Free Library, where I work as a substitute librarian. There was a regular group of preteen African American girls who I felt needed a role model. Josephine with all her pizzazz and confidence leaped to mind. So I started reaching and then writing.

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Q. I adore the illustrations by Christian Robinson! They're folksy, vibrant and saturated with the feeling of the woman and her time. What was your reaction when you first saw them?
A. I adore Christian’s illustrations. They’re perfect. It’s not what I’d imagined, which makes my loving them even more powerful, I think.

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Q. Will you be doing anything special to release Josephine during African American History month?
A. I’ll be doing a school event with Christian in San Francisco at the beginning of the month. My big event in my home town—Champaign-Urbana, Illinois—is a book launch party on February 20. Traditional Jazz Orchestra, who you can hear on the fabulous Christian-made book trailer will play music. It’s my husband’s early jazz band. I’ll read from the book and teach the Charleston. Seaboat and friends will cater soul food because Josephine served soul food to her friends in Paris. Jane Addams Bookstore will sell the books. Should be a load of fun.

Thanks so much for stopping by and congratulations on a beautiful book!

Chronicle has kindly agreed to give a free copy of JOSEPHINE to one of my lucky commenters. Must live in the US or Canada to win. Enter below!
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