h1 November 28th, 2017 by jules

“Martin’s dream was my symphony. Black and white people could come together in the big dance of life. Hey child, my sweet child . . . Sometimes it seems as if
that dream came true! But the dream is fragile. You have to take care of it.”


I’ve got a review over at BookPage of a French import, Alice Brière-Haquet’s Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil-Rights Activist Nina Simone (Charlesbridge, November 2017), illustrated by Bruno Liance and originally published in 2015.

That review is here, and I’m following up here today with some illustrations from the book. (Some are sans text.)



“I don’t remember that, of course. My first childhood memory came a little bit later.
I must have been about three years old. I thought the piano looked like there were
fifty-two white teeth and thirty-six black teeth trapped in the keyboard.
The black keys were smaller.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


“… The notes had to mingle and dance together in the air
so these lies would disappear. …”

(Click to enlarge)


“The years went by. I played Mozart, Liszt, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy.
I played all the important men in powdered wigs from past centuries.
I was talented. People told me so.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


“When I was twelve years old, our church asked me to give a performance. Mom sewed a beautiful white dress with pleats and pretty ribbons. God knows she was proud —
her daughter was giving a concert!”

(Click to enlarge spread)


(Click to enlarge spread)



* * * * * * *

NINA: JAZZ LEGEND AND CIVIL-RIGHTS ACTIVIST NINA SIMONE. Copyright © Gallimard Jeunesse, 2015. 2017 First US edition. Translation copyright © 2017 Charlesbridge Publishing. Translated by Julie Cormier. Illustrations used by permission of Charlesbridge, Watertown, MA.

3 comments to “Nina

  1. WOW. And an imported book, too!

  2. Oh I need this book! I LOVE Nine Simone. Was lucky enough to see her in person at New Orleans Jazz Fest a million years ago with my sister and some of my friends. She made her entrance on stage in a black dress, black kitten heels, and an ankle length leopard print coat – we could not take our eyes off of her – no one could. With a flick of her wrist, the coat dropped to the floor, an assistant scurried out and took it away, and Ms. Nina blew us all away with her performance.

    Thanks for this post and book – jogged a beautiful memory for me. What a concert, what a singer, what a woman.

  3. Rachel: Ooh. Jealous.

Leave a Comment

Should you have trouble posting, please contact Thanks.