A Band of Angels by Deborah Hopkinson & Raul Colon

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews



A Band of Angels is fiction, but it is based on real events and people. The character of Ella was inspired by Ella Sheppard Moore, who was born February 4, 1851, in Nashville, Tennessee. Her father was able to free himself and young Ella from slavery, but before he could buy freedom for Ella’s mother she was sold away. Ella was raised in Cincinnati, where she took music lessons. At fifteen, she was left penniless when her father died. She arrived at Fisk School in 1868 with only six dollars.

Fisk was opened in 1866 as a school for former slaves and began offering college classes in 1871. That year, in a desperate attempt to save Fisk from closing, a music teacher named George White set out with a group of students on a singing tour to raise money. Although at first they only sang popular music of the day, they soon became famous for introducing spirituals to the world.

Ella Sheppard was the pianist for the Jubilee Singers on their historic concert tours, which raised enough money to save the school and build Jubilee Hall, the first permanent structure in the South for the education of black students. Ella later married George Moore, had three children, and located her mother and a sister. She died in 1914. Today her great-granddaughter is a librarian at Fisk University who shares the history of the Jubilee Singers with visitors.

Although none graduated from Fisk, the original Jubilee Singers were recognized with honorary degrees in 1978. Today, Jubilee Singers at Fisk University continue to keep alive a rich musical tradition that includes such songs as “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Many Thousand Gone,” and “Go Down, Moses.”

About Deborah Hopkinson & Raul Colon

See more books from this Author
Deborah Hopkinson is the author of numerous award-winning children's books, including Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, winner of the International Reading Association Award, Girl Wonder, winner of the Great Lakes Book Award, and Apples to Oregon, a Junior Library Guild Selection. She received the 2003 Washington State Book Award for Under the Quilt for the Night. She lives in Oregon. Visit her on the Web at www.deborahhopkinson.com.
Published May 7, 2013 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 40 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Arts & Photography. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Band of Angels

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

This fictionalized version of the formation of Fisk University's Jubilee Singers should be packaged with handkerchiefs, because by the end there won't be a dry eye among readers.

Jan 01 1999 | Read Full Review of A Band of Angels

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Yes No By clicking on "Submit"...

| Read Full Review of A Band of Angels

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

But Professor White, who teaches music, recruits Ella and fellow members of the school chorus to tour the northern states and raise money for Fisk.

| Read Full Review of A Band of Angels


Mrs. Howse praises Hopkinson's portrayal of Ella Shephard's story and is proud that the story of her great-grandmother now belongs to a very special body of children's literature that brings history alive for young children.

Feb 29 2016 | Read Full Review of A Band of Angels

Reader Rating for A Band of Angels

An aggregated and normalized score based on 8 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review