Nina by Alice Brière-Haquet


A stunning picture-book biography of the High Priestess of Soul and one of the greatest voices of the 20th century.With evocative black-and-white illustrations and moving prose, readers are introduced to Nina Simone, jazz-music legend and civil-rights activist. Shared as a lullaby to her daughter, a soulful song recounts Simone's career, the trials she faced as an African American woman, and the stand she took during the Civil Rights Movement. Th...

Details Nina

Release DateNov 28th, 2017
PublisherCharlesbridge Publishing
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Biography, Music, Nonfiction

Reviews Nina

  • Beth
    This book took my breath away and made my hair stand on end. The text is absolutely like nothing I've ever read before in a picture book and the illustrations were equally as powerful as the text. This book will be on my list of go-to picture books to give to Middle and high school teachers to show them that picture books are not just for little kids. In fact, some of them, like this one, are for much older and more mature readers. If you're an a...
  • Donalyn
    I wish there was an author's note explaining more about Nina Simone's life. Hard for kids to walk away with a richer understanding of who she was and her contributions.
  • Tina ( As Told By Tina )
    This review was originally posted on As Told By TinaI received this book for free from Charlesbridge Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Our Review Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil-Rights Activist Nina Simone is honestly the most beautiful book I own and had the privilege of holding in my hand. The moment I opened my package from MCBD I was in absolute aw. The book is si...
  • Becki Iverson
    I am a HUGE Nina Simone fan and when I learned there was a children's book about her I knew I had to read it. The narrative of this book is a little bit lacking - the ending feels unfinished, and if you don't already know a fair amount about Nina Simone you might be a bit confused - but the black and white illustrations are really gorgeous, and it still manages to incorporate a lot of civil rights knowledge in a way that is easily digestible by k...
  • Dawn
    Nina Simone was a classically trained pianist & vocalist who turned to jazz music when she was unable to make a career as a classical musician due to her race. She used her music as a medium for activism and proved to be an incredibly resilient & talented woman. This beautiful biography takes the reader through her story, highlighting the themes that music is for all people and even the best dreams need taking care of.
  • Brenda Kahn
    A biography which is an autobiography framed as a bed-time story. Lyrical and powerful imagery. Gorgeously illustrated. I had high hopes to add this to my picture book biography unit, but lack of backmatter or further details about the subject's life will limit its use for this project. It is a lovely book though.
  • Emily
    Art is compelling, the story is interesting, but written in a way that I think would be confusing for a picture book audience. For example, the text makes statements that ultimately the narrator doesn't agree with, but it's not very clear and requires some sophisticated knowledge of storytelling and context to get.
  • Earl
    Framed as a lullaby, this lyrical biography of musician and activist evokes powerful images. I would have appreciated back matter to flesh things out because I did feel it ended abruptly.
  • Vanessa Dioses
    This book is a biography intended for children 4 to 8 years of age and Nina Simone was recently memorized in an Academy Award nominated documentary for "What happened, Miss Simone?" A summary of the book is about Nina reading to her daughter and recapping her life in a lullaby. I rated the book so well because i loved this book. I think me being a Baltimore native i can relate to some things with Nina. She was an iconic figure, and accomplished s...
  • Amy
    Beautiful illustrations and important. However, there didn't seem to be enough information for me to consider this a true biography. You really couldn't use this as a source for a biography report on Nina Simone.
  • Jessica Brown
    Gorgeous illustrations, beautifully written story about Nina Simone, but I wish it had just a little more info on her in the story itself.
  • Rosemary
    She is a legend in music and civil rights history. Author Alice Brière-Haquet and illustrator Bruno Liance introduce Nina Simone to new audiences with this beautifully written and illustrated book. Written as a story to Simone's daughter, who's having trouble falling asleep, Alice Brière-Haquet weaves a tale of achievement in the face of racism, using stunning imagery: the 52 white teeth "trapping" the 36 black teeth in the keyboard, and the wh...
  • Heidi
    This is a book filled with symbolism and imagery. While that makes for a beautiful book, it also makes it confusing for younger readers, which is why I would recommend this book for older children. It would even make a great addition to units on the Civil Rights movement, that continues today. The book starts with Nina, a mother, singing a lullaby to her own child, and telling the story (very briefly) of some of her early experiences with music a...
  • Karen
    The black and white pictures with their soft edges, their drama, their playful perspectives that are alternately heart-breaking, are what make this book compelling. I wish there was more back matter to make it more a true biography instead of just an impressionistic rendering of a life. Yet it packs a punch about inequality, about talent, about perseverance.
  • Amanda
    This frustrated me because I wanted to know SO MUCH more and felt like the author barely dipped into Simone's amazing life. Bumped it up a star for the terrific illustrations. BLARGH. FRUSTRATION.
  • Alia
    Let me down. Big Time. I wanted much much more.
  • Children's Literature Centre at FSU
    This story immediately drew me in with the vivid black and white portraits and shading on each page. When reading this story, I became entranced by the illustrations. The way that the illustrator creates shadows and shape is breathtaking.The symbolism of the piano representing white and black culture is very powerful. Nina tells her story of overcoming adversity through the beauty of music and the strength in her character’s history. Not only d...
  • Tasha
    This picture book is a completely engrossing look at the life of Nina Simone. Done in a way that welcomes even small children to hear her story, the book opens with a greeting and a lullaby. Using piano keys as an allegory for race, the book looks at the keys through the eyes of a young Nina, who notices that white keys are whole notes while black keys are half notes. She sees something similar in society as well. Nina used music as a way to unit...
  • Stephanie Bange
    An intriguing introduction to Nina Simone's life.One night when Nina's baby is having a hard time getting to sleep, she sings a lullaby and tells the story about some of her civil rights activities.I really wanted to like this more. Briere-Haquet's text was originally written in French. Unfortunately, this translation lies kinda flat on the page. It has a very negative tone about it -- anger, perhaps? I wanted to know more about Nina. Backmatter ...
  • Lorie
    Originally published in France for the French Market, this first U.S. edition picture book biography recounts the life of musician and activist Nina Simone. Written in first person as if Nina herself was recounting her life story to her daughter as a lullaby, we see Nina’s early influences as classical pianist as she was trained in childhood. Woven through the narrative is the struggle for civil rights as seen through her eyes as musician and a...
  • Viviane Elbee
    This book is based on Nina Simone, jazz legend and activist. The black and white illustrations are sophisticated and incredibly textured.It seems aimed at a somewhat older audience (older preschoolers, elementary students - middle grade), though even older fans of Nina Simone would probably also enjoy it. This book could be used in discussions about music & civil rights movements in the USA. It could also be used as a bedtime story, since it star...
  • Meredith
    Beautiful images, language was lovely, important message. I loved that it wasn't so wordy for young ones. I love reading historical books or biographies to my little Kinders and First graders (also my own kids, a first grader and a 3-year-old) but sometimes they can be heavy on the text (in all fairness, it is hard to tell many of these histories without a lot of words) and the kids lose interest. This one was a great length and still taught the ...
  • Christine Irvin
    Author Alice Brière-Haquet present the story of Nina Simone, a singer of soul music who made her mark in both music and civil rights. Nina was black, and because of the color of her skin, she lived in a world where she was discriminated against. She was a talented singer who longed to bring the world together through her music. This book celebrates Nina's life and her accomplishments. It also shows how much we have accomplished in terms or civil...
  • Alexis
    As a musician, a parent, and a huge fan of Nina Simone, I was really excited to read this with my children. Ugh. So disappointed. "The white keys are whole notes" and "in music there is only one rhythm" - um, no. Is this supposed to be poetic? It's inaccurate, sloppy writing. (I haven't read the French version; perhaps it makes more sense?) As general rules, white people don't need to be writing in first person as black icons, and in this instanc...
  • Tanya
    Powerful. My favorite lines are:“Music has no color. In music there is only one rhythm. Only one heart.”I love how as a twelve year old, Nina took a stand for black rights. I love how she noticed as a three year old the unfairness is white and black keys on the piano. The black and white illustrations are superb.I wish this book had a biography page of Nina Simone in the back as I see done with many picture Books based on real events or a rea...
  • Jason Hood
    This beautiful biography of Nina Simone weaves an evening lullaby and moments from the Civil Rights movement into a message of hope. With black and white illustrations, seemingly inspired by the keys of a piano, illustrate the systemic nature of racism. “‘The white keys are whole notes and the black keys are flats, or half notes,’ my teacher explained. I asked why. ‘Because that’s just the way it is.’ Yes that’s the way it was. Whit...
  • Kristen
    I love Nina Simone and was excited to read this with my (12 yo) daughter. But the story felt disjointed, and I couldn’t find a rhythm with the text. We were even confused about whose point of view the story was being told from at first. A high point was the keeping alive the moment of Nina’s refusing to sing when her mother was asked to give up her seat. Even the illustrations there were captivating.
  • Annie
    Beautifully written with lovely parallels drawn between Nina Simone's brave action in the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream. There's lyrical language and a deeply moving message, yet I felt this story was lacking somehow. Perhaps it was the abruptness of the ending or the absence of backmatter about Nina's life and musical career. Still well worth reading! And be sure to take in all the beauty of the illustrations.
  • Amanda Sanders
    "Nina" tells the story of a young musician who stood up for herself during her 12-year-old church performance. Apparently, she went on to become a civil rights activist, but the story does not go into any more detail of her life and there is no section at the back of the book to tell more and recommend more books on the subject. I like when non fiction that barely skims the surface of a subject gives more details at the back of a book.
  • Trish
    A brief look back at Nina Simone's life, as told to her daughter.It is illustrated in black and white by French illustrator, Bruno Liance. Alice Briere-Haquet, the author, is also French. It is a beautiful book, but I would have appreciated a note with more details about her life.