Cover Image: Ella Queen of Jazz

Ella Queen of Jazz

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Member Reviews

The illustrations in this book are beautiful and really evoke a 1950s feel. The colours are bright and each page is truly captivating. 

It's a good introduction to a time in Ella Fitzgerald's life and the racism that she faced and was so prevalent in culture. It feels a little bit like there's too much focus on Marilyn Monroe than Ella's talent and skill. I think its great to point out how to be an ally and advocate in places where black voices are not being heard, but this felt like it lacked a bit of balance/power. I would read this with a few other books, I think it would help round out the narrative and give a fuller picture.
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*I received this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Based on the true story of the famous singer Ella Fitzgerald, Ella Queen of Jazz by Helen Hancocks tells the story of how she was able to transcend the color barrier during the height of racial tension in the 1950s by singing at an all white club. Intended as a children’s historical book, Hancocks supressingly reduces the impact of what it was like for Ella during that time. Furthermore, the impressionable reader is left with the idea that if it was not for her “savior” Marilyn, Ella would not have been as successful. While Marilyn and Ella were close friends during their lifetime, I still feel as though the author should have incorporated more individuals who also helped to boycott those segregated clubs during that time. All in all, the book especially with its illustrations were an interesting read and hopefully it would pique the interest of so many young readers to delve into further the amazing history of African Americans.
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I am a huge fan of Ella and until I read this book, I had no idea she and Marilyn Monroe were friends. I think this is a great book about racism and prejudice for young readers.
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A wonderful picture book that summarizes a critical time in the career of the esteemed jazz artist Ella Fitzgerald. The illustrations are vivid, bright and colorful - even the fonts are outstanding! More important than the fabulous illustrations is the true story of how Ella's music so touched another artist, that despite not knowing her, they stood up for her to ensure that she could perform at the biggest and most popular venue. Partially as a result of that gesture, Ella's career exploded (it was already going extremely well!) and her friendship with that other artist - Marilyn Monroe - blossomed into something timeless.

What I love most about this book is how it teaches a critical lesson about how friends can use their different advantages to help each other in different, but profound ways. While Ella and her bandmates faced racism that temporarily held them back, her gift for music was so phenomenal it transcended most racial barriers, reaching into the hearts and minds of all types of people, and making fast fans and friends of many. Marilyn Monroe, a famous actress and passionate fan of Ella's, used her star power (and white privilege) to get Ella into the club that she had been turned away from because she was black, and Ella helped Marilyn become a better singer, helping her to get parts in musical films. They had a wonderful friendship, and used their differences and advantages to help each other.

Truly a wonderful story!
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I hate to do this, but the info bits at the back of the book were way better than the rest of the book.  To start off, my galley has no words on the first page, and the first words make it feel like you are missing an introduction to Ella.  It also seems like the author tries too hard to make the book not about Marilyn Monroe, and doesn't mention her last until almost the end.  This book would have been so much better if the author had decided to either A: make it a friendship story and give credit to both woman like it did in the end, or be just leave it as an Ella story and leave out Marilyn’s name all together.  I really wanted to like this book.  The illustrations are amazing, but the rest of it...ehhh.  One suggestion on the illustrations, somehow name the awards.  There are just pictures, and while most recognize a Grammy statue, they may not know the Kennedy Honors, Presidential medal of honor, or the third one that I can’t name.
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This was lovely book about Ella the Jazz Queen and her friendship with Marylin Monroe. I love both of them and the illustrations were beautiful. 

It is quite a short story, and although it is a really nice story it did feel a little bit unbalanced when it comes to the story and the images and what age is this for? But anyway, I am sure the little ones will love it, especially if they will get to listen to some songs too afterwards!
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What a wonderful book!  Ella Fitzgerald has long been my favorite and I love that this new book about her life has been written.  Love the illustrations, too!
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Ella Fitzgerald's name is no stranger to the realm of music legends, but it almost wasn't the case. Helen Hancocks tells the story of Ella Queen of Jazz is an enjoyable children's book that addresses the talent of Fitzgerald, while also showing the racism faced by African American performers. 

The illustrations in Ella Queen of Jazz are fun to flip through and the book is enjoyable. Be advised, however, that the book turns more into the story of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe's friendship as the book goes on. 

Ella Queen of Jazz is available February 6th from Quarto Publishing.
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This nonfiction picture book introduces readers to singer Ella Fitzgerald and tells the story of how a famous night club refused to let her and her band perform because of their color, but a famous actress lobbied for the night club to change their minds, a barrier came down, and a friendship was born that was colorblind.

This is more a story about the friendship of Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald, and the ways they broke racial barriers together than it is a summary of Ella Fitzgerald’s life. Not that that’s bad. It is a powerful true story that I’d never heard before. Marilyn Monroe made some poor choices in her life and often just gets painted as a tragic figure, but I have to admire her for her guts in being willing to stick up for Ella Fitzgerald and fighting to bring down a color barrier at a time when that was by no means popular. It was also fascinating to learn that Ella in turn helped Marilyn learn to sing. Adults may be interested to read the back of the book with further info on both women. The text in this is pretty simple, so even younger kids should get the gist and message of this story. Highly recommended as a great read to show kids a great historical example of two women who were brave, good friends to each other despite their cultural backgrounds and what was popular.

I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I love a good picture book that tells about an interesting piece of history, and I had no idea that Ella and Marilyn we’re friends! Great story about how Marilyn was able to help her!
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A glorious look at how friendship came shake the foundations and open up the crack of possibility. I also adored the illustrations and general stylishness of the text.
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A bright, colorful, and engaging retelling of when Ella met Marilyn, a story that I wasn't familiar with before this book. The text and story are OK, but the vibrant pictures are the real star here. The historical note at the end is helpful for grown ups and children who want more depth.  

I received a digital ARC from the publisher via Netgalley.
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I loved learning about Ella Queen of Jazz. An easy to read biography for children, featuring a important African American woman. The best takeaway was finding out the ways that Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe learned from each other and impacted each other's lives.
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This book is more about the friendship between Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe than it is about the career of Ella Fitzgerald. Monroe’s support allowed Fitzgerald to sing in a setting that was closed to an African American singer. Fitzgerald, in turn, supported Monroe’s career.  The story of this friendship is clearly told and well supported by colorful illustrations and clearly written text. While not much is made of the racial issues in this story, there are clearly significant issues to discuss with young readers.
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What a sweet book for young readers! It is not only important to know what a terrific singer Ella Fitzgerald was, but to know what a good friend Marilyn Monroe was to her. I enjoyed the story and illustrations, both. I hope there are others in a series! Thank you to #NetGalley and @helenhancocks for the opportunity to preview #EllaQueenofJazz - I loved it!
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'Ella Queen of Jazz' by Helen Hancocks tells a story from the life of jazz queen Ella Fitzgerald.

This beautifully illustrated picture book focuses on one event in Ella's life.  When Ella and her band tried to play in a popular club, they weren't allowed to because they were black.  What the club hadn't figured on was how popular Ella's music had become.   Ella found an ally (and new friend) in Marilyn Monroe.  The story ends with an afterword talking about how each woman helped the other, and all the awards that Ella gained in her career.

The illustrations are colorful and fun.  I really enjoyed this story about one of my favorite musicians.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Quarto Publishing Group-Frances Lincoln Childrens, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.
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I enjoyed this kids book introducing kids to great musicians and women of history. I think kids of all reading levels will like it and enjoy reading about her.
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I love listening to Ella Fitzgerald and was excited to see this book. Hancocks' story of how Marilyn Monroe helped Fitzgerald land a gig at the Mocambo in Hollywood was wonderful. The illustrations are very 50s and the only complaint I have about them is Marilyn (she looks like a Picasso painting). The 50s were a very hard time for all musicians, and it took a little nudging from other stars to help break through many barriers. This would make a great addition to classrooms and homeschools, as well as home libraries because of its "believe in yourself" and "help others" messages.

Thank you NetGalley and Frances Lincoln Children's Books for the opportunity to read an advance reader copy.
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Ella Fitzgerald, a legendary jazz singer, was one of the most influential artists in the genre of vocal jazz. As a big fan of classic jazz, I think it is never too early to introduce good music and artists to young children. "Ella Queen of Jazz" makes a wonderful picture book for young children to get acquainted with the name "Ella Fitzgerald." 

"Ella Queen of Jazz, to me, is not really at a biography but a book about a particular challenging moment in Fitzgerald's long-lived career. I understand the book is written for children and details are expected to be omitted. The simplification, however, at time producing a distorted impression about Ella Fitzgerald's successful career before Marilyn Monroe came into the picture. It was in 1955 while there was still racial segregation, Marilyn Monroe lobbied for having Ella Fitzgerald to play at the prominent Mocambo nightclub. The receptive nature of Marilyn Monroe lifted the already well-established career of Ella Fitzgerald to the next level. It was a liberal mind lobbied for bringing an African American artist into a segregated white establishment; a minor step to fight for injustice by embracing differences. And not to mention the remembrance of the beautiful friendship shared by the two talented artists.   

1- Beautifully illustrated
2- Positive vibe and messages overall 

1- Omitting the historical background (i.e. minimum history of jazz, of the political/social situation) makes the story a little confusing, even creating misleading impressions of Ella Fitzgerald earlier success and accomplishment

"Ella Queen of Jazz" is a cute little book. Instead of telling the entire Fitzgerald story, the book focuses on one her unique career highlights that makes Fitzgerald's story interesting. The historical background behind the friendship is also a gentle way to introduce the civil rights movement to young children. I truly enjoyed reading the book and so did my 5yo.
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A very simplified look at racism.

And perhaps this is the easiest way to explain it, to young children. Ella is good at what she does, but she can not play all the places she wants to because she is Black.


So, Marilyn Monroe, a white woman helps her get into the places she wants to be.

So, this is also a story of friendship as well.

One reviewer asked while children would read a picture book about someone they had never heard of. Well, that is why books exist, so you can hear about people. And if you were not familiar with the Jim Crow laws, or the racism that was and is still around, this is a very simple story about it.

So, a good book to add to any library.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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