Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century

Carole Boston Weatherford
A stunning picture-book biography of iconic African American opera star Leontyne Price.   Born in a small town in Mississippi in 1927, the daughter of a midwife and a sawmill worker, Leontyne Price might have grown up singing the blues. But Leontyne had big dreams—and plenty to be thankful for—as she surrounded herself with church hymns and hallelujahs, soaked up opera arias on the radio, and watched the great Marian Anderson grace the stage.              While racism made it unlikely that a poor black girl from the South would pursue an opera career, Leontyne’s wondrous voice and unconquerable spirit prevailed. Bursting through the door Marian had cracked open, Leontyne was soon recognized and celebrated for her leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera and around the world—most notably as the majestic Ethiopian princess in Aida, the part she felt she was born to sing.From award-winners Carole Boston Weatherford and Raul Colón comes the story of a little girl from Mississippi who became a beloved star—one whose song soared on the breath of her ancestors and paved the way for those who followed.


Reviewed: 2019-01-27

This picture book biography utilizes art in a way that adds to the story. The use of color in the illustrations to signify the beauty of music in a printed book is imaginative and creates a air of significance. The setting is honest to the time period, though the issues of the time are not dwelled upon, they are present. The focus is certain, this is the story of Leontyne Price. The theme of opening doors and holding them open for those who come later is breathed into the story, not preached. An adult reader might achieve the understanding of the importance of representation across professions. A child reader could see a Black woman, a Person of Color, achieving greatness in a time when it was not thought possible, making more things seem possible to the child. Neither the art nor the writing lean on stereotypes to tell this inspiring story. They show show understanding and respect.

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