Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten

Laura Veirs, illus. by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. Chronicle, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4521-4857-1
As a child in North Carolina at the end of the 19th century, Elizabeth Cotten taught herself to play her brother’s guitar. It didn’t matter that she was left-handed: she just played the guitar upside down. “It was kind of like brushing your teeth with your foot,” writes Veirs, a singer-songwriter making her children’s book debut. Cotten didn’t pursue a career in music (“Time swept Libba up, and she stopped playing guitar”), and when readers next see her, she is a grandmother working in a department store. After being hired as a housekeeper by Ruth Crawford Seeger, Cotten impressed the famous family of folk musicians with her playing, leading to a lovely second act as a musician. Newcomer Fazlalizadeh’s graphite drawings bring a moody atmosphere to Cotten’s story, an elegant and moving portrait of a musician’s late-in-life success and singular approach to her craft. Ages 5–8. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/20/2017
Release date: 01/16/2018
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 40 pages - 978-1-4521-4858-8
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