Ella Queen of Jazz is a beautiful book telling through words and pictures the true story of Ella Fitzgerald (the first lady of song) her rise to fame in fifties America and her friendship with Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe. Ella’s talent and success are very well known but perhaps less so the obstacles she faced along the way. Top venues operated a colour bar, black performers were not welcome. It was the intervention of Marilyn Monroe which made the difference for Ella and contributed to her international stardom.
With themes of prejudice, the power of friendship and standing up for what you feel is right there is lots for young readers to think about in this stylish picturebook. Preconceptions of Marilyn Monroe (often portrayed as the archetypal dumb blonde) are challenged too. The mini biographies included at the back of the book are an added bonus.
This year marks the centenary of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth and is the perfect time to celebrate her success and find out more about her incredible story.