Parents' Guide to

Jazz Age Josephine

By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Jazzy bio of Josephine Baker inspiring, bittersweet.

Jazz Age Josephine Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 1 parent review

age 9+

Ages 4+ = absolutely not.

My kindergartener brought home a library book last month called “Jazz Age Josephine” by Jonah Winter that she selected from her school library. The cover looked on par with what she commonly brings home- books that have beautiful women on the cover. She is very much intrigued by all things "fancy", "princess-like", etc. This particular book requires a child that is developmentally capable of understanding the nuance and context around race and racism. I found this book to be intense in subject matter and in it's depictions of violence (houses being set on fire). A more age appropriate discussion in regards to race at her age would be one that centers around kindness to all, as well as the concept that we are all the same and we are all different (i.e. we all have eyes used to see but everyone has different shapes and colors, or we all have skin to protect our insides, but that we all have different shades of skin color), focusing on how boring it would be if everyone looked the same and how wonderful it is to have differences. (Again, she is a kindergartner. As she gets older, we will delve into heavier subject matter accordingly.) I do not feel that this is appropriate for the current recommended age group of 4+. Please re-review and update your suggested age range accordingly.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

JAZZ AGE JOSEPHINE is an exciting picture book biography of one of the world's most beloved entertainers of her time. Winter's jazzy rhyming verse and two-time Caldecott Honoree Marjorie Priceman's bold, exuberant illustrations capture the deprivation of Josephine's childhood, the triumph of her performing career, and the glitz and glamor of the 1920s, known as the Jazz Age. Baker playfully dances across the pages, contorting her body into animal poses and kicking her long legs with abandon. It's a vivid portrayal that conveys Baker's irrepressible energy, as well as her melancholy at not being able to return to the land of her birth, lest she face prejudice and discrimination.

Book Details

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