Published by Orchard Books
Summary: Zelda Jackson was an artist, poet, and storyteller who dreamed of working for the Black newspaper, the Pittsburgh Courier. She got her break writing a story about boxing that was published using her childhood nickname, Jackie. Once she was an established columnist, she tried her hand at art, creating a comic strip character named Torchy Brown, a young woman who moved from her home in Mississippi to New York City. After marriage and a move to Chicago, Jackie worked for the Chicago Defender, creating a new comic called Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger, which she used to comment on civil rights and other issues important to Black people. Jackie became a community activist, using the money she made from her comics to fund causes she believed in, and drawing the attention of the FBI, who spied on her for a decade. After retiring Patty-Jo, Jackie gave up comics, pursuing other forms of art until her death in 1985. Includes notes from the author and artist, photos, and a bibliography. 48 pages; grades 2-5.
Pros: This fascinating biography with striking comic-style artwork will inspire graphic novel fans who may want to try creating comics of their own and shows them how comics can be used for both fun and communicating a more serious message.
Cons: I wish there had been a bit more information on Jackie’s post-comics art career.