Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 2, 2020

Book Giveaway – MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield

Vivian Kirkfield has written a picture book titled, MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe, and illustrated by Alleanna Harris. Vivian has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Vivian and Allenna!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

“This warm story emphasizes Ella’s role in her success, thus avoiding the trap of the white-savior narrative. Many white artists have benefited from imitating black ones; this is the rare narrative to acknowledge that… saturated with color, they capture the iconic looks of the two stars. A good volume to include in a larger conversation about friendship, allyship, and social justice.”-Kirkus Reviews

Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. On the outside, you couldn’t find two girls who looked more different. But on the inside, they were alike–full of hopes and dreams and plans of what might be.

Ella Fitzgerald’s velvety tones and shube-doobie-doos captivated audiences. Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington couldn’t wait to share the stage with her, but still, Ella could not book a performance at one of the biggest clubs in town–one she knew would give her career its biggest break yet.

Marilyn Monroe dazzled on the silver screen with her baby blue eyes and breathy boo-boo-be-doos. But when she asked for better scripts, a choice in who she worked with, and a higher salary, studio bosses refused.

Two women whose voices weren’t being heard. Two women chasing after their dreams and each helping the other to achieve them. This is the inspiring, true story of two incredibly talented women who came together to help each other shine like the stars that they are.

WRITING JOURNEY:

On January 14, 2020, Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books, illustrated by Alleanna Harris) takes a bow…which seems to be a fitting way to describe the launch of a book about the fabulously talented jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald and the iconic movie star, Marilyn Monroe…both took many bows in their time.

Back in 2014, I was just taking baby steps in writing nonfiction picture books. I happened to see an online picture of these ladies, sitting together in a nightclub—on the outside, they appeared so different—but it was obvious from the photo that there was a connection between them. My curiosity was sparked…I had to know more!

None of the books I got from the library were able to shed any light on this friendship. I had to put on my detective hat. I googled the author of several of the Marilyn Monroe books and found out she (the author) had been a professor at a California university. I checked out the university website and discovered her email. I contacted her and although she didn’t know the information, she directed me to the president of the oldest Marilyn Monroe fan club. I went to his website – sure enough, his email was there. And, when I emailed him, he gave me the phone number of the woman who had been Ella Fitzgerald’s promoter (publicity person for her concerts) for thirty-seven years! I called her and she was lovely. She spoke to me for hours and assured me that Ella and Marilyn were friends. Ella had seen every one of Marilyn’s movies. Marilyn had listened to every one of Ella’s recordings. They respected and cared about each other. When Marilyn needed to improve her singing, she studied Ella’s voice. And when Ella needed help getting the booking at the Mocambo…well, that’s what the book is all about!

PUBLICATION JOURNEY:

Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you to try, try again? The path to publication with this manuscript was an example of that. I wrote the manuscript at the end of 2014…showed it to an editor at a conference in 2015. She loved it and asked for revision as. We sent it to her but she wasn’t able to get her team to acquire it. The same thing happened in 2016 with a different editor/publisher. And at the end of 2017, we sent it to yet another editor, Courtney Fahy from Little Bee Books…again I was asked for revisions. But this time, her publisher acquired it! YAY! They signed on a fabulous illustrator, Alleanna Harris, and the rest of the publication process was like a dream…I was shown sketches early on…and my opinion mattered! The publicity team printed lots of ARCS and sent me a bunch. And I was able to meet the whole team when I visited New York City. It’s been a wonderful relationship of collaboration. I’ll be reading the story to parents and children during Author’s Night at the Lycee Francais Chicago and I look forward to sharing it with many other schools during the upcoming months. There’s nothing better than using picture books to engage with kids, pique their curiosity, empower them to tell their own story, and inspire them to follow their dreams. What I tell kids during school visits is that Nothing Is Impossible If You Can Imagine It!

VIVIAN’S BIO:

Writer for children—reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. Her bucket list contains many more than five words – but she’s already checked off skydiving, parasailing, banana-boat riding, and visiting kidlit friends around the world. When she isn’t looking for ways to fall from the sky or sink under the water, she can be found writing picture books in the quaint village of Amherst, NH where the old stone library is her favorite hangout and her young grandson is her favorite board game partner. A retired kindergarten teacher with a masters in Early Childhood Education, Vivian inspires budding writers during classroom visits and shares insights with aspiring authors at conferences and on her blog, Picture Books Help Kids Soar where she hosts the #50PreciousWords International Contest in March and the #50PreciousWordsforKids Challenge in May. She is the author of Pippa’s Passover Plate (Holiday House); Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book (Pomegranate); Sweet Dreams, Sarah (Creston Books); Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books); and From Here to There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). You can connect with her on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, or just about any place people with picture books are found.

ILLUSTRATOR ALLEANNA HARRIS’ BIO:

Alleanna Harris is a US illustrator who has been drawing for as long as she can remember. As a little kid, she would draw on every page of her mom’s legal pads, doodle on her notebooks at school and on the programs at church.

She graduated from the University of Arts with a BFA in Animation with Honors, and it was during this time she realized her love for illustration. Alleanna finds inspiration in the beauty in everyday things. Everything inspires her. In her work, she seeks to create images that are immersive, rich in color and have a sense of warmth. She lives in NJ.

Alleanna was featured on Illustrator Saturday.

Vivian, thank you for sharing your book and its’ journey with us. I am sure everyone will love reading the inspiring story of these two great women and how their lives connected. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Imagine, a chance photo of these two remarkable women sitting together inspired your book! I’ve always been an admirer of Ella and Marilyn, but had no idea of their friendship. Congratulations, Vivian!

    Kathy, I subscribe to your blog and receive it in my mail every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Debra. And that photo is making the rounds on the internet yet again…there are so many Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe fans out there.

      Like

  2. Congrats Vivian! This looks like a great story. As a music teacher, I see a potential lesson arising from this book! I will be sharing tis post on FB and Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate the good wishes, Bettie. And I agree…I think there are many lessons here…Marilyn studied Ella’s tempo and tone, but then she created her own style…finding her voice in more ways than one.

      Like

  3. Great interview, and a great topic for a picture book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, PJ…I think if I wrote for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I couldn’t finish the manuscripts of all the ideas I have.

      Like

  4. I’m lucky to have seen the F&G of this gorgeous book. When Vivian first mentioned this as her first book of 2020, I couldn’t wait to hear more about it. The book journey, the inspiration for writing it, the actual friendship of these iconic women, every detail is fascinating. But I have a feeling this book is going to take on a life of its own. The story, Vivian’s exquisite writing, and Alleanna’s fabulous illustrations really create a special book where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness…I need to tell the publisher that you should be writing a blurb for the book, my friend…you are too kind…and now I am smiling because of the lovely things you’ve said.

      Like

  5. I am really looking forward to this book! There’s so much mystique about both women, and to think that they were friends is exciting. Thanks for the chance to win, and congrats to Vivian and Alleana!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Jane! What I loved most about writing the story was to uncover the other layers of these two icons.

      Like

  6. This is such a wonderful book! Congratulations, Vivian and Alleana! The book birthday is nearly here! I’m looking forward to seeing it in print. 🙂 Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Yes! Yes! The book birthday is almost here…January 28…and the first bookstore launch is January 18 at the Barnes and Noble in Nashua, NH. Thank you so much for the good wishes, Angie!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vivian, Isn’t it listed as earlier? I thought it was. Amazon says Jan. 14. I don’t know how these things work. Maybe that’s a preorder date or something…. Anyway, happy January book birthday!

        Liked by 1 person

      • The printer had an issue of some kind…not with my book…but it pushed the launch date back from Jan 14 to Jan 28…however the publisher says the B&N store will have copies for sale on Jan 18.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Vivian is my idol and my inspiration! I am not familiar with Alleanna, but her work is beautiful! I would love to have a copy of this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t wait to get this book for my classroom library! We do Wax Museum Biographies every year and this book would be fabulous for anyone doing either Ella or Marilyn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m excited for your Wax Museum Biographies project, Gaye. What grade do you teach? And where? I’m putting together a PowerPoint presentation like the one I had for Sweet Dreams, Sarah and I love to do school visits.

      Like

  9. Thank you so very much, Kathy! What a fabulous post…I’m honored to have a spot on your blog…and grateful for the opportunity to spread the word about this book that focuses on friendship and allyship – two cultures the world needs to embrace.

    Like

  10. Congratulations Vivian! What fascinating subjects for a book! I am sharing this on FB, twitter, and am a regular follower of your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Darlene. And thank you for having me on YOUR blog…I’m looking forward to the 20th.

      Like

  11. I’m looking forward to this book. Fantastic interview. I tweeted about it and tagged you, Kathy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed the interview, Ann! And thank you for sharing!

      Like

  12. This is such a great, strong story! And Vivian has captured it and told it so well in HER voice. (I’m a regular follower.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww…thanks, Beth! I’m a fan of YOUR voice in LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT! I’m thrilled we are #20truePBs and 2020VisionPBs sisters.

      Like

  13. What an amazing story about two diverse women who needed their voices heard…I imagine there are plenty of contemporary counterparts. Congrats, adding this book to my wish list plus sharing on FB and Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Nancy, for adding the book to your wish list. Hope you enjoy it when you get to read it.

      Like

  14. Love little known stories of well-known people. What a big heart Marilyn had!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, Natasha…those little known gems are exactly what I love to research and write about.

      Like

  15. I love this story and I can’t wait to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jena! Hope you are able to get a copy soon…it launches Jan 28, but some bookstores might have it a bit sooner. I have a bookstore event on January 18 and hopefully, they will have the book in stock.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Sounds like an amazing book and I’m looking forward to reading it as my mom was a great fan of Ella Fitzgerald and I grew up listening to her records. Congrats to Vivian and Alleanna!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are all hoping that many adults will be fans of the book, as well as children…I, too, was a fan of Ella’s.

      Like

  17. I always love hearing about your book journeys, Vivian. I can’t wait to read your lovely and inspiring story of friendship!

    Kathy, I shared on twitter and follow your blog daily. Thanks for today’s post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Friendship…it’s what life is all about! That’s why I feel so blessed to have you and our incredible kidlit community as friends, Judy!

      Like

  18. Vivian, you find the best story ideas, and you know what to do with them. The illustrations look fabulous. Can’t wait for this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for such a lovely comment, Sherri. I do adore the research…and finding the way into the story.

      Like

  19. Excellent review/post on Vivian’s newest book, Kathy! I’m excited to review it later this month. Thanks, Kathy.
    I am a regular email recipient and I shared on FB & Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad I got you the answers to your interview questions already, Maria…things are starting to get busy!

      Like

  20. I cannot wait to own this book! It sounds amazing and the illustrations are beautiful. I am a subscriber and also tweeted (@erikammon13).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Erik! I’m so glad you are excited about the book…me, too!

      Like

  21. Wow, Vivian, I didn’t know you had talked to Ella’s publicist! Great research on your part!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was really fortunate to connect with her, Tina…thanks to Dr. Lois Banner who suggested I contact Greg Schreiner, the president of the Marilyn Monroe fan club…and thanks to Greg who gave me the phone number.

      Like

  22. I would LOVE to win a copy of this book to share with my own kids and my Kindergarten kids!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck in the giveaway, Tara…and yay for kindergarten teachers! I was one for many years and LOVED it!

      Like

  23. This is a beautiful book. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much…I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

      Like

  24. Congratulations, Vivian, on the upcoming publication of Making Their Voices Heard. I loved learning about the inspiration & journey to publication, and I can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are such a wonderful cheerleader, Patricia! Thank you!

      Like

  25. I would love to win this book. I’m going to request it from the library if I don’t! Shared on FB, Twitter and Pinterest. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Requesting it from the library is such a great idea, Carol. I wish everyone, whether they get their own copy or not, would request it from their local libraries…can you imagine how many books would be sold if every local library bought a copy!!!!

      Like

  26. Congratulations Vivian on the publications of this book. What a unique and interesting perspective on two iconic women. I look forward to reading it and hopefully winning it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I loved writing the story about these two iconic women, Sandra. It was fascinating finding out their back story and some of that is included in the back matter of the book…so I hope you do have a chance to get a copy.

      Like

  27. Thanks so much for sharing this journey, ladies! I’m an email subscriber to yoir lovely blog, Kathy, and I’ve shared on Twitter and Facebook

    Like

  28. Lovely inspiration. I like your determination to get the facts of the story. Great job. Thank you. 😉

    Like

  29. Hurray for perseverance!

    Like


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