cover image Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up the Stage

Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up the Stage

Alan Schroeder, illus. by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu. Lee & Low, $18.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-60060-410-2

Growing up in Goat Alley—“in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Washington, [D.C.]”—Florence Mills loved to sing and dance. At age three, she began performing for local businesses and, although she burst into tears during her first stage performance (she received abundant applause anyway), Mills’s reputation as a singer began to grow among the elite of Washington. Despite Mills’s and her family’s poverty, the watercolor illustrations from the husband-and-wife team of Van Wright and Hu have a joyous glow; young Mills almost always has a smile on her face and a lively pose to match. End pages provide photographs of Mills (1895–1927) as an adult and a detailed description of her career as an entertainer—one that ended early, when she died of tuberculosis at age 31. Ages 6–11. (Mar.)