Work It, Girl: Oprah Winfrey

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 May 2019

Member Reviews

I haven't read an Oprah biography for younger readers before, so this was a positive first read. It would definitely be something suitable for school libraries, especially for female success stories.
Was this review helpful?
Work it Girl; Oprah Winfrey  by Caroline Moss is a concise accessory for grown-ups and a thorough notes-to-self for young readers. It emanates the Oprah Winfrey's spirit,
Was this review helpful?
This book puts me on a fence balancing between, do I like, it, do I not.  The story did what any good story should do, it taught me things I didn’t know.  I had no idea Oprah was a news anchor, or that she wore flour sack dresses.  I have not been a lifelong follower of Oprah so this book was very informative.  I came to know Oprah more after the couch jumping incident.  What I find interesting, are the things the author chooses to include in this story, as well as what they choose to leave out.  Nowhere does it mention that Oprah started school in places where girls could not get an education.   But it does mention her “Favorite Things” episodes, and the car giveaway.  I find it unusual the mention the free cars because of the back lash dealing with taxes that each person had to pay to accept those cars.  I don’t know what really happened, but shouldn't this be mentioned, or the car story left out of the tale?  On top of all that is the writing.  I know this book is written with children in mind, but it also reads like it was written by a novice.  Word choices and sentence structure is odd in places, and it reads more like a spoken word presentation than a book.  I was expecting this to be a picture book but it was set up as a chapter book, full of illustrations.  I would like to see a finished edition as this review is based off a digital galley, and as such funny things happen with the layout. The paper cut illustrations are masterfully done and deserve more presence then what is seen in the digital galley. If you want to introduce a young reader to someone you admire this book would work, but I think it can, and has been done better.
#LitsyAtoZ #Childrensbooks
Was this review helpful?
The ‘Work It, Girl’ books are a wonderful series of biographies of women. From the same group that publishes the Little People Big Dreams series I reviewed a few days ago, these books are for a slightly older audience than the LPBD books.

Written as biographies of women for older elementary and middle-grade readers – these books show you how these women overcame obstacles, worked through (well, literal) walls! I enjoyed the reads too!

The artwork in these books is super-cool – paper-collages which will inspire the reader to create! While the books themselves will of course be a true inspiration too, prompting the readers to challenge themselves, and work smart to achieve their dreams like the women featured in the book have done! 

Faith and confidence in yourself matters ‘oh so much’, and that fact shines through the story of Oprah Winfrey in this book. At every point in her life, no matter the difficulties she was in or the obstacles she had to face, she believed she was meant to achieve great(er) things; and she did.

“You are not built to shrink down to less, but to blossom into more” – Oprah

And she did not forget her roots, and those difficulties and obstacles. She knew there were others who are in the place she had been years ago; and wanted to give back; to provide a life full of opportunities to all those who need them.

“The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.”

In summary: 
I am hoping the publishers will include more GirlBosses in this series; the book is empowering, inspirational, and accessible to all audiences.

In addition, I loved those 10 life lessons from the featured woman included at the end of the book; along with questions to reflect on and a list of resources for further reading. The books are sprinkled with quotes that inspire – quotes from the featured women and quotes from others that seem to perfectly fit with their life.

And the illustrations – they are simply gorgeous. The paper-cut collage style illustrations in bright colors create a pop-out effect that is sure to appeal to, well, just about everyone!

I love the ‘Work It, Girl’ books – a must-read and a great addition to classroom and home libraries for boys and girls.

Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the digital review copies of the book above. These are my honest opinions.
Was this review helpful?
Inspirational and easy  to read and to learn from.  It will motivate children to be great and go after their dreams.
Was this review helpful?
Oprah Winfrey is an inspiring story for all children. It is a great lesson about overcoming odds to reach your potential. The books graphics and illustrations are amazing! The cut paper style was so unique. Oprah quotes a perfectly placed.  I would recommend this title to my students. Thanks Caroline Moss and NetGalley for the ARC of this title,
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed reading this biography about Oprah Winfrey.  I like how the illustrations look like they are cut out of construction paper. The series is perfectly geared toward older elementary school children. Adults can also enjoy this book and series.
Was this review helpful?
This addition to the Work It, Girl collection covers the life of another powerful, inspiring woman: Oprah Winfrey. Young children can benefit from these books as they show how women can defy all that holds them down and holds them back and succeed at achieving their dreams.
Was this review helpful?
Really enjoyed reading this book. Lovely pictures and quotes used. Cannot wait to share the quotes and pictures used with my class, for inspiration for them. Amazing book.
Was this review helpful?
“Oprah was made fun of by other kids for being a poor black girl who wore potato sack dresses. They called her ‘sack girl’. . . It was hard to make friends when you were sack girl.”

This is part of a new series about empowering women in the modern world. It’s not a children’s picture book but a simple biography with interesting collage (I think) artwork and a few photographs to illustrate her story. 

There’s plenty of detail and many references at the end for those who would like to know more about what inspired Oprah and kept her going. And by golly, she needed determination to grow from Sack Girl to one of the most influential women in America.

I have included illustrations in my Goodreads review. The captions are in brackets in this review.
[Illustration of Oprah as a little girl in her sack dress with her corncob doll]

Born to a teen-aged mother, Oprah was raised largely by grandmother Hattie Mae, who worked as a maid. 
[Illustration of Oprah’s only photo of her grandmother who had dreams for her]

Oprah loved reading and writing, but especially talking, and the ladies in their church called her the little preacher and said she was gifted. 

“Hattie Mae would tell Oprah that she should hope to grow up to work for some 'good white folks' who would sometimes spare her leftovers from their dinner table. . . 

‘I regret my grandmother did not live to see I’ve got some good white folks working for me,’ Oprah would say, decades later.”

When she was a little older, she was sent to be with her mother in Milwaukee, but her half-sister, Patricia, was lighter-skinned and favoured, so Oprah was put on the porch to sleep. To say she and her mother fought is an understatement. According to the book, she was not an easy teen!

When she was 14, she was sent to Tennessee to live with her father, who was not only strict, he made her read a book a week and write a report on it. Ring any bells with you Oprah’s Book Club fans?
[Photo of Oprah in high school]

Then came the real eye-opener – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings byMaya Angelou and after reading about a girl like herself, Oprah was ready to tackle anything.
[Illustration of Oprah reading and breaking free of her cage]

She entered and won a speaking competition (always a good talker!) and a four-year scholarship to the University of Tennessee. 
[Photo of Oprah with her trophy]

She went on to radio in Nashville and Baltimore, where she had many setbacks, but she stuck to it and refused to give up. She also gained her lifelong best friend, Gayle King, which made Baltimore worth the misery.
[Illustration about meeting challenges]

When she got a job in Chicago hosting a morning talk show, she felt she was home. Chicago has always felt like home she says, and the public loved her. 

“She was humble, she was funny, and viewers loved funny. They craved funny. They weren’t getting funny from any other morning show.”

She acted! She won an Academy Award nomination for the Stephen Spielberg movie The Colour Purple, and the public loved that too.

“And the viewers kept coming back for more. Oprah was like a friend that everyone wanted to sit with at lunch—not because they wore the best clothes or had the most money—but because she was a good listener, a good speaker, and helped you understand, learn, and care about things. . . 
Oprah started inviting people with different views to come and talk to her, which helped people at home have those same conversations with their families and friends.”
[Illustration of Tom Cruise leaping onto the couch and of the Obamas talking to Oprah]

That’s all well and good, but she wanted to do more. She’d been giving prizes away to the audience, but she knew how much poverty there was and what challenges there were for girls everywhere. She began her charities, founded schools, and supported students everywhere.

When she decided in 2010 to retire, the producers wouldn’t let her manage the grand finale. As a surprise, they brought back many past guests. But there wouldn’t have been a dry eye in the house when this happened.

“It wasn’t the celebrities that made the finale so special to Oprah, however, even though it was fun to see her friends. The most touching moment of all was when 400 Morehouse College graduates walked on stage. These 400 men had their college educations funded by Oprah. She stepped in because none of these boys would have been able to afford to go to college. Now they came back to thank her, and walked on stage as Kristin Chenowith sang ‘For Good’ from her Broadway show, ‘Wicked’.
[Illustration of “The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.”]

Disclaimer: I saw several of Oprah’s shows over the years, but I was not a regular viewer. I was, however, struck by how natural she always appeared, happy to be self-deprecating and quick to give others credit where she might have claimed it herself. I reckon she is one of the good guys and this is an excellent book from this new series. 

It's easy for young people, interesting for anyone, and even includes 10 key lessons from Oprah’s life at the end. They certainly worked for her!

Thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing – Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for the preview copy from which I’ve quoted and copied illustrations.

P.S. For anyone who’s read this far and wants to know more, here’s a link to my old pal Roger Ebert’s story of how he helped Oprah get her start. .(The bragging tone is meant in good fun, I'm sure) His work is always entertaining, and this is no exception. Meeting Roger in Baltimore is another good thing to come out of that part of her life.
Was this review helpful?
I didn’t know much about Oprah’s life before reading this book. She came from very humble beginnings. She had to live with her grandmother as a child, and they didn’t have much. Her mother didn’t care for her the way she should. She was discriminated against because of her race, including not being able to sleep in the same building as her family because her skin was too dark. Oprah made the most of her opportunities in school to become a very successful business woman.

I loved the art in this book. Each illustration looks like pieces of paper cut out and layered to make a picture. There are some parts where different materials are used, such as ribbon to create Oprah’s hair. One of my favourite pictures had a VCR tape with the tape coming out of the plastic to create an image of Oprah. This was such a creative way to illustrate the book!

This book is for kids, so it has simple language. It talks about the hardships that Oprah had to go through to get to where she is today, so it doesn’t talk down to the young reader. There was a list of further reading at the back, though I don’t think some books should have been included because they are too mature for children reading this book. It had a parental advisory next to the book titles, but I don’t think they should have been included. My copy is an ARC, so this may have been changed in the final copy.

I loved this book. I’ll be reading the other book in this series soon, which is about J.K. Rowling.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I loved reading this. Its put its own twist on the current trend of life stories of empowering women from history.  There is more detail and information about the subject, but still keeps it simple to understanding. The book's chapters are also broken up by quotes by the subject and beautiful paper craft inspired illustrations. Would love to read more of these.
Was this review helpful?
This is an inspiring biography for kids.  It features many quotes and wonderful illustrations that appear to be made, in part, from cut paper. 

In our celebrity obsessed culture, it is easy to think that someone who is successful has always been successful or has had a life without struggle.  This gives a false sense about how to succeed and about important values.

Now, many know Oprah for the wide platform that she has...from TV, her book club, her school in Africa, etc.  But she was once a little girl who felt alone as she moved among her grandmother, mother and father.  How did she come to believe in herself?  What lead to her success and what lessons can be learned from it?  Read the book to find out more.

In my opinion, this is a great biography for kids.  They will learn a lot about Oprah and may also begin to develop their own dreams.  Told simply and factually and not avoiding issues like racism, this is a well researched biography.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this excellent read.  I learned things that I had not known.  All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
** This review will be part of a larger Spotlight Feature on the series on 27 April. Links can be updated **

Caroline begins this biography using very simple language to explain both poverty and racism at the time Oprah was a child, when she was once known as “sack girl”. Its simple honesty doesn’t overwhelm but gets the message across in a way that children today will understand. The first three chapters deal with Oprah’s childhood in which she went from living with her lovely grandmother to being shipped between her mother and father until eventually as a teenager going to live with her father permanently. It is quite saddening to hear of her childhood troubles but also amazing to see all that she becomes: she knew from the age of four she wanted to grow up and be paid to talk. 

Moving on through Oprah’s first few jobs, you get an insight into the world of TV and there is a great illustration of Oprah drawn out of an old video cassette film. The final chapters discuss not just Oprah’s success but how once she was successful, she used her fame to give back.

There are so many wonderful, inspiring lines written into the biography here are my three top picks:
“Oprah decided it was okay to do things out of the expected order sometimes.”
“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new centre of gravity – Oprah”
“Her mistakes only made her audience love her more.”

This is a fascinating read and I will never look at “the number of trees in a back garden” the same way again. (Read the book, you’ll understand!).

My view of the series:
I wish this series had been around when I was young and actually, I still found them inspiring to read even as an adult. However, they are ultimately books to inspire the next generation of leaders and I have no doubt that they will.

What I love about this series is that while the books aren’t too long, you still feel like you’ve got the full picture of the woman’s life. Each chapter is only a couple of pages and the ratio of text-pages to illustration-pages is 50:50. What’s more, I love that the illustrations don’t just depict what the words told you but ADD to the story and move it on. The inspirational quotes from the women themselves are a brilliant touch and cleverly illustrated by Sinem. 

Caroline has a distinctive and engaging voice that runs throughout the books, sometimes speaking directly to the young readers, which instantly makes these inspiring life-stories feel more accessible and, most importantly, relatable to young readers.

This is a series that can be enjoyed by many ages – young children can see the story and message through illustrations, older children can read text and adult fans can learn about a woman they love. These women are role models to everyone and these books are for all too. Caroline and Sinem have thought about every little detail in these books, right down to the ten chapter titles and how they are presented on the page. It has resulted in a unique series that deserves to sit on everyone’s bookshelf.
Was this review helpful?
This book told Oprah Winfrey’s - quite inspiring - story in an easy to understand way that is perfect for younger children. 
There were some quotes and cute little illustrations. 
An enjoyable read. 

- I received a free copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. -
Was this review helpful?
An inspiring and simple tale that is a must for kindergarten classrooms interested in garnering interest in reading through simple stories.
Was this review helpful?
Wow Oprah is so inspiring, tho this book definitely sticks to the more positive things in her life it still sheds light on the struggles she's overcome. Truly an amazing person and this book does a great job of putting it into words!
Was this review helpful?
This is the second book I have read in the "Work It, Girl" series and I thoroughly enjoyed it (just as much as the first on JK Rowling). The format was the same, chapters laying out Oprah's story, mixed in with quotes and cool illustrations. I would absolutely recommend this to any child as Oprah is an inspiration and there are a lot of life lessons to be learned from her life. I really hope another book in the series comes out soon!

Thank you to Netgalley, Caroline Moss and Quarto Publishing Group - Frances Lincoln Childrens for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of the second book in this series that I have read!
Was this review helpful?
The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"Work it, girl" is a new series of empowering biographies featuring modern women. 
These biographies are short yet detailed: that’s because they’re books for children, so it’s totally understandable.
I think they are a very smart and wonderful way to introduce little children to such important figures.
This one is about Oprah, one of most influential and powerful women in the whole world.
Here, we follow her life since she was a little poor girl 'till her success thanks to "The Oprah Winfrey Show".
I know Oprah and I've come to admire her, but I knew little about her poor and difficult childhood and all the struggles she endured to become who she is today.
Therefore, this book was definetely a good way to know more about this incredible woman in an entertaining way thanks to the writing style and the illustrations, which are done with cut paper and are really beautiful and original.
Despite of all the difficulties, she never gave up and kept fighting for her dream.
Reading about her gave me goosebumps. She's an absolutely incredibile, strong, generous and kind woman.
I think reading about her resilience and kindness may have a good influence on kids, and also adults.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the opportunity bto review this!
I really enjoyed and felt inspired by Oprah's story.
Great book to give to teenagers, to learn to follow one"s dreams.
I loved the 10 advices that were at the end.
Was this review helpful?