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A Story of Nina Simone



G.P. Putnam's Sons

(Penguin Random House)

(pub.9.28.2021) 56 pages

Author: Traci N. Todd

Illustrator: Christian Robinson

Character: Nina Simone

Overview: "Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in small town North Carolina, Nina Simone was a musical child. She sang before she talked and learned to play piano at a very young age. With the support of her family and community, she received music lessons that introduced her to classical composers like Bach who remained with her and influenced her music throughout her life. She loved the way his music began softly and then tumbled to thunder, like her mother's preaching, and in much the same way as her career.

During her first performances under the name of Nina Simone her voice was rich and sweet but as the Civil Rights Movement gained steam, Nina's voice soon became a thunderous roar as she raised her voice in powerful protest in the fight against racial inequality and discrimination."

Tantalizing taste:

"Nina's voice broke with the weight of this new music. It was harder now, rough, defiant.

Black people loved her for it. They had always loved her. But now, as they sat at lunch counters, demanding to be served; rode buses, demanding to be seated; and marched, demanding good jobs for good pay - they knew how much she truly loved them."

And something more: Traci N. Todd shares in the About Nina Simone section: "My father, a civil rights leader in his own right, introduced me to the music of Nina Simone. He first heard her music playing in a gas station in Alabama. The song was 'I Loves You, Porgy,' from George and Ira Gershwin's musical Porgy and Bess. When my father asked the gas station attendant who was singing, the attendant replied, 'I don't know if it's Nine-ah Simon or Nina Simone, but she sure can sing.' I've heard that story so often, it feels like part of who I am. So does the music of Nina Simone."


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