Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up the Stage

With the call for judges for Cybils, our thoughts turn to which books to nominate. I thought I had mine all picked out until this book came across my desk. Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up the Stage by Alan Schroeder and illustrated by the husband/wife team of Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu is a picture book biography that will light up a child’s face when he or she reads it.

Baby Flo is about the early childhood of a dancer from early 1900s, Florence Mills. At a very young age Florence danced with such a spirited style that she caught the attention of many of the Washington, D.C. elite. Florence Mills was performing on stage by three years old and by the tender of age of seven she had her name in lights at the Bijou Theater.

As if the heartwarming story wasn’t enough, the vibrant watercolor illustrations capture the joy and spirit of the young Baby Flo perfectly. (You can see a preview at the publisher’s website.)

In three pages of Author’s Notes in the back, we find out about how as an adult Florence Mills went on to become an international celebrity. Photographs of the delicate beauty are included.

Baby Flo: Florence Mills Lights Up the Stage introduces children to a person and the culture of a by-gone era they might not otherwise encounter. Children who dream to become dancers or entertainers will find the story particularly inspiring. Before you know it, you will be warming up your search engine with the terms like “cakewalk” and “buck-and-wing.”

Hopefully someone else will nominate that other book I was considering…

Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (March 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1600604102
ISBN-13: 978-1600604102


Book was supplied by publisher for review purposes.



Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.

This week’s round-up is at Jean Little Library.