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  • Michelle Nott

Voices to Lift Us All Up

Making Their Voices Heard written by Vivian Kirkfield and illustrated by Alleanna Harris, published by Little Bee Books.


The beauty in this book comes from the message that we are all made of hopes, dreams, talents, and character. Our character can either help or hinder the hopes, dreams, and talents of others.


Vivian Kirkfield introduces young readers to extraordinary friends, Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe, who helped lift each other up when faced with personal and professional challenges. Like all best friends, they listened to each other when others would not.


Combined with Alleanna Harris' realistic illustrations, this biography takes readers back to mid-century America amidst the glamour of the 1950s but also the ugliness of Jim Crow laws and sexism. Both women worked hard to build their own careers, but with each other, they succeeded beyond what they were told was possible.


After Marilyn studied Ella's voice to prepare for a movie role, she approached the singer after one of her shows to thank her. They quickly became friends. Marilyn was so grateful to Ella for helping her improve her voice, she thought of a way to help Ella's voice find bigger audiences and Ella to earn the respect she deserved.


The Author's Note reveals even more about the life and times of these two celebrities. Readers will be inspired by how Ella and Marilyn overcame multiple hardships and challenges. The back matter also incudes a list of primary and secondary sources. The text with this added information provides a valuable resource in discussions on history, racism, sexism, social justice, and the importance of a variety of source materials.


Imagine It!


Imagine that you have something really important to say (I'm sure you do) about how you're feeling, how someone else is feeling, something you saw, something you heard, something you read...


How do you voice it? Do you draw scribbles to get a frustration out? Do you write teeny tiny words on a piece of paper when you're feeling sad?


Imagine you are Marilyn... act out like a movie star something wonderful, funny, scary, or maybe sad that you want to express to someone.


Imagine you are Ella... sing loud or soft, sway or maybe dance (depending on your emotion) to show someone how you feel.


Can you imagine other ways to lift up your voice or other people's voices?







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