Celebrate the life of Lena Horne, the pioneering African American actress and civil rights activist, with this inspiring and powerful picture book from award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford. Lena Horne was born into the freedom struggle, to a family of teachers and activists. Her mother dreamed of being an actress, so Lena followed in her footsteps as she chased small parts in vaudeville, living out of a suitcase until MGM offered Lena something more — the first ever studio contract for a Black actress. But the roles she was considered for were maids and mammies, stereotypes that Lena refused to play. Still, she never gave up. “Stormy Weather” became her theme song, and when she sang “This Little Light of Mine” at a civil rights rally, she found not only her voice, but her calling. Ages 4–8.
About The Author
Carole Boston Weatherford is the author of several acclaimed poetry collections and poetic biographies, including Sugar Hill and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, winner of a Caldecott Honor, the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, and the NAACP Image Award. She teaches at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.
Read Aloud Tips
Create a reading theme around the author, who has published many social justice titles. Read her bio and have students make similarities between her books.
Ask students to name some of their favor musicians and pick a few to talk about their long road to fame.
While reading the book, have students listen to some of Lena Horne’s songs and discuss what they mean.
“Weatherford’s writing is succinct and inspirational. Zunon’s oil paint and cut-paper collage illustrations are more than a match for Horne’s dynamic onstage presence. Their dramatic design showcases a . . . memorable life dedicated to music and civil rights, presented with commensurate style.” – Kirkus Reviews