Back of Book:
The audience was completely silent the first time Billie Holiday performed a song called “Strange Fruit.” In the 1930s, Billie was known as a performer of jazz and blues music, but this song wasn’t either of those things. It was a song about injustice, and it would change her life forever.
I love finding stories that I can use to teach my students about the amazing Jazz era. It can be hard to explain to students why Jazz was more than music. It was a movement. Strange Fruit is among the most haunting picture books I have ever read. It touches on a time period that is hard to talk, and teach about. Billie Holiday was a woman who had a hard life. Even then, she remained strong and enlightened the world on a topic that no one wanted to hear about. Strange Fruit teaches readers about lynching, without going into too much detail. The illustrations are stunning and show readers the beauty and strength of Billie Holiday. Although this is a picture book, I can see it being used in older grades to teach about the Jazz Era. I highly recommend this book.
Ages 9 and up