At the intersection of February’s Black History Month and March’s Women’s History Month comes Ella Queen of Jazz, a children’s book about Ella Fitzgerald by author and illustrator Helen Hancocks. Chances are your preschooler or grade school-aged child has no clue who Ella Fitzgerald is. But this book is going to change that.

Even though the book’s title might make you think it’s a basic bio of the iconic singer, it’s so, so, so much more than that. The story centers on Fitzgerald’s career in an era when her skin color meant that she couldn’t perform for everyone or everywhere. The book dips deep (in a way that’s completely relatable to children, and easy to understand) and shows how a friendship between Fitzgerald and the ever-so-famous Marilyn Monroe was a game changer.

Ella Queen of Jazz chronicles the pairs’ relationship and how it overcame racial and social prejudices at the time. As Monroe helped Fitzgerald, by convincing an all-white club to give the singer the chance to perform, Fitzgerald also help Monroe — as a friend and confidant.

So if you’re looking for a way to introduce the littles to the great wide world of jazz, celebrate Black History Month or mark Women’s History Month, this book needs to go to the top of your must-read list.

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What do you think about this new children’s book? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

—Erica Loop

 

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