cover image A Voice Named Aretha

A Voice Named Aretha

Katheryn Russell-Brown, illus. by Laura Freeman. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-68119-850-7

Shades of purple and gold predominate in this laudatory picture book biography of the Queen of Soul. Tracing Aretha Franklin’s life from her 1940s–’50s childhood in Detroit, singing as part of her pastor father C.L. Franklin’s “Gospel Caravan,” to performing for President Barack Obama (pictured, but not named), it covers the major moments in the life and career of this musical legend—the death of her mother, her first church solo, the years of work and performance before she had a hit, and her eventual stratospheric success. Franklin’s ongoing support of civil rights is a recurring theme: “Aretha sang only where people of all races could attend” and she “performed in lots of concerts to raise money for civil rights groups.” Freeman’s clear, crisp illustrations add welcome vibrancy to the text’s straightforward narrative style. Additional biographical information and extensive notes from the author and illustrator are included. Ages 4–8. [em](Jan.) [/em]