Oprah Winfrey

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Oprah Winfrey has been called the Queen of All Media for good reason-during her more than thirty-year career, she has left an indelible mark on radio, television, film, theater, magazines, and books. One of the most influential people today, Oprah is also a committed humanitarian.

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Oprah Winfrey has been called the Queen of All Media for good reason-during her more than thirty-year career, she has left an indelible mark on radio, television, film, theater, magazines, and books. One of the most influential people today, Oprah is also a committed humanitarian.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
One title in the “Up Close” series about famous figures such as Robert F. Kennedy, Johnny Cash and Ella Fitzgerald, this entertaining biographical account of arguably both the richest and the most famous African American woman alive has much to offer young readers. Peppered with photos of Oprah’s childhood, her early career and rise to fame, the book delivers an honest portrayal of Winfrey’s turbulent adolescence, her drive to succeed, her lifelong battle with weight, her affinity for eccentricities and fabrications, and her decisions that sometimes enraged those with more power (and less vision) than she. One of the most memorable lines in the whole book is a quote from Oprah’s father, who offered her the stability and boundaries an unwed teenaged mother needed. He would tell her, “If I tell you a mosquito can pull a wagon, don’t ask me no questions. Just hitch him up!”--and she would. Author Ilene Cooper paints vivid pictures of the people who most influenced Oprah. Despite some unnecessary repetition of information in the text, Cooper provides an informative biography of Winfrey that does not shy away from discussing both her joys and her hardships. This work that reads more like a novel than a work of nonfiction ends with a discussion of Winfrey’s 2002 work in South Africa and her establishment of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in the Guateng Province of South Africa. A lively rendition of a larger-than-life woman. Reviewer: Michelle H. Martin, Ph.D.
VOYA - Tracy Piombo
In this new series, well-known biographers show how some of the most famous figures in twentieth-century America became legends and how they influenced the world. The two volumes reviewed here highlight the outsize personalities and immense talents of the iconic "Music Legend" Johnny Cash and "Media Queen" Oprah Winfrey, while dealing frankly with the troubles and flaws that make them human. The Cash volume begins with his hardscrabble upbringing and traces his journey to fame and crossover music success. Cash's drug addiction, relapses, and neglect of his family are all on view, but the book also illuminates his loyalty to his first band members and commitment to causes such as Native American rights. Although some background events are oversimplified (such as the Great Depression), Neimark does a wonderful job of describing the Memphis music scene, Cash's love of the South, and most important, his unusual voice and talent. Oprah's Winfrey's initial poverty, although literal, was also perhaps more emotional, as she shuttled back and forth between family members. Cooper unflinchingly relates the sexual abuse that Winfrey suffered as a teen as well as her subsequent promiscuity. In tracing her rise to media stardom, the text also highlights Winfrey's brushes with disappointment, such as her early failure as a news anchor and lifelong struggle with her weight. Ultimately readers are left with the impression of a remarkably determined and talented woman whose fame is equally matched by her loyalty and generosity. Both biographies are entertaining, moderately easy to read and accessible even to reluctant readers. The small format of the books leads to some drawbacks, such as smallerpictures and a drabber layout, but it also lends an intimate feel that will appeal to teens more than larger sized biographies. Both volumes could use more illustrations with better reproduction quality, and the Cash selection does not correlate pictures with text. Neimark's writing is also less polished than Cooper's and contains confusing transitions and unanswered questions. Even so, it fills an important gap in middle grade biographies on the "Man in Black," and both books will be worthy additions to any library serving teens.
School Library Journal

Gr 7 & Up - Cooper discusses her subject's early traumatic and dramatic experiences. She shows how a poor, abused, bright child from Mississippi overcame her past, becoming perhaps the most influential woman in America. Much of the book focuses on Winfrey's work and philanthropy, concluding with the Oprah Winfrey Leadership School for Girls in South Africa. Average-quality black-and-white photos are included. This well-documented, easy-to-read biography is a good resource for reports.-Sarah Krygier, Solano County Library, Fairfield, CA

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670061624
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/5/2007
  • Series: Penguin Up Close Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 642,216
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 1110L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.34 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Ilene Cooper is the children’s books editor at Booklist and the author of over twenty books for young readers, including Jack: The Early Years of John F. Kennedy.

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Customer Reviews

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