Ray Charles

By Library Talk

(Library Talk, recommended book) It was extremely hard to be a child of the Depression, but even more so without sight. Ray Charles Robinson was that child, and his gutsy story of achievement will inspire readers of all ages. At the age of six he lost his sight, and at seven left his family to attend a school for the blind. By the time Charles graduated at 15, his parents and brother had died. His first job was playing the piano at a radio station. By age 24, Charles had traveled from Greenville, Florida, to Seattle, dropped his last name, played the Apollo Theatre, formed a band of his own, and had the number two spot on Billboard’s Rhythm and Blues chart with “I Got a Woman”. He painstakingly composed music in Braille and could play several instruments. Charles has received numerous music and humanitarian awards and composed the state song of Georgia. Ford’s illustrations in black acrylic and India ink contain the same passion and energy Charles exemplifies. Read this book aloud when featuring biographies, people of achievement, or themes related to music. This book, first published in 1973, was a Coretta Scott King Award winner for both text and illustrations. This new edition contains a foreword and afterward by the author, which updates Charles’ life to the present.