A complete biographical look at the complex life of a world-famous entertainer

With determination and audacity, Josephine Baker turned her comic and musical abilities into becoming a worldwide icon of the Jazz Age. The Many Faces of Josephine Baker: Dancer, Singer, Activist, Spy provides the first in-depth portrait of this remarkable woman for young adults. Author Peggy Caravantes follows Baker’s life from her childhood in the depths of poverty to her comedic rise in vaudeville and fame in Europe. This lively biography covers her outspoken participation in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, espionage work for the French Resistance during World War II, and adoption of 12 children—her “rainbow tribe.” Also included are informative sidebars on relevant topics such as the 1917 East St. Louis riot, Pullman railway porters, the Charleston, and more. The lush photographs, appendix updating readers on the lives of the rainbow tribe, source notes, and bibliography make this is a must-have resource for any student, Baker fan, or history buff.


This edition is for teens or young readers. For those that don’t know a lot about Josephine Baker, she was born in St. Louis, and by her early teens she made it out of their traveling with a vaudeville show and became friends with Ethel Waters, and Clara Smith. Clara Smith tired teach Josephine who to read and write. She got her first big break subbing one night for Miss Water’s, she had all of her songs memorized. From their she married a Pullman porter and got a nightclub job in New Jersey, she did not stay there very long and then moved to New York. After trying out for different shows she got an opportunity to go to Paris and in 1925 at the age of 19 she went. She fell in love and perform at the folies Bergere this is where she really gained popularity. Her Charleston dance was all the talk in Paris and when she turned 20 they had a huge party for her with gifts of perfume, scarves, bracelets, and a puppy. But she was still lonely she would have affairs with men thinking that they would actually marry her, but would later tell her that she was not in their class. She then started a long time affair with her manager Pepito that would last until his death. She did tour South America and the US and was still put off by discrimination, not only here but in South America as well. In the 30’s she would become a French citizen and then world war 2 broke out she actually worked as a spy for the French, she was awarded the highest medal for the work she did during the war. Back trying to get her career started again it would be hit and miss. She would go on to adopt 12 children she called her rainbow tribe. She was given a full military burial for being a war hero and Princess Grace was just one of many dignitaries that showed up for her funeral. The author at times throughout the book gives explanations of certain things, or of people that I found very interesting. Some I knew already, but one I did not. The Charleston dance actually started from the African Americans, from the slaves and moved on from the fields to the towns. They don’t teach you that in school. An excellent book. I got this book from netgalley. I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

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