Book Looks

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

From The Dispatch’s Nancy Gilson come more great books for kids about heroes in African-American history:

“Odetta: The Queen of Folk” (Scholastic, 40 pages, $18.99, ages 4 to 8) by Stephen Alcorn In a vernacular, poetic voice, Alcorn tells the story of the Alabama-born girl who grew up to become a force in American folk music. Alcorn, a friend of Odetta's, also supplies the folk-style illustrations, which include depictions of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and others whom the singer influenced.

“Rosa's Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights” (Calkins Creek, 40 pages, $17.95, ages 5 to 8) by Jo S. Kittinger, illustrated by Steven Walker The story of Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a bus is built around the bus itself — No. 2857, on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. The storied vehicle makes clear to young readers how critical the bus boycott that began in 1955 was in the nation's struggle for civil rights. Walker's paintings are big, colorful and dramatic.

“Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald” (Candlewick, 42 pages, $17.99, ages 6 to 10) by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Sean Qualls How a girl born poor and not particularly attractive grew up to become one of the nation's most revered singers is depicted in words and appealing color illustrations. The hardships of Fitzgerald's life — her mother's death, her life in an orphanage — aren't glossed over, making her rise to famous jazz and pop vocalist all the more dramatic.