Cover image for Janis Joplin : rise up singing
Janis Joplin : rise up singing
Publication Information:
New York : Amulet Books, 2010.
Physical Description:
120 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 27 cm.
Spreading her wings -- Out of Port Arthur -- Looking for love -- Call on me -- Monterey Pop's poster child -- Cheap thrills, drugs, and self-destruction -- Kozmic Blues -- To love somebody -- Pearl -- Love, Janis.
Reading Level:
1170 L Lexile
Personal Subject:
This book examines the life and musical career of Janis Joplin.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 921 JOPLIN 1 1
Book 921 JOPLIN 1 1

On Order



Forty years after her death, Janis Joplin remains among the most compelling and influential figures in rock-and-roll history. Her story--told here with depth and sensitivity by author Ann Angel--is one of a girl who struggled against rules and limitations, yet worked diligently to improve as a singer. It's the story of an outrageous rebel who wanted to be loved, and of a wild woman who wrote long, loving letters to her mom. And finally, it's the story of one of the most iconic female musicians in American history, who died at twenty-seven. Janis Joplin includes more than sixty photographs, and an assortment of anecdotes from Janis's friends and band mates. This thoroughly researched and well-illustrated biography is a must-have for all young artists, music lovers, and pop-culture enthusiasts.

Author Notes

Ann Angel is the author of six biographies and works of criticism. She graduated from Vermont College's MFA program in writing for children, and she works as an author and educator, focusing on young adults. She was the editor for Abrams's Such a Pretty Face . She lives in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Visit her online at

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-It was 40 years ago this October that the rock singer died from an overdose of alcohol and drugs at the age of 27. From interviews with her friends and letters that Joplin wrote home, Angel pieces together her subject's short life, contrasting her conservative upbringing in a small Texas town with the wild 1960s, vividly portrayed both in descriptions and in excellent-quality, full-color and black-and-white photos on almost every page. Joplin's husky, passionate singing voice was appreciated by other musicians and by her audiences. She loved to sing the blues with the misery and pain that dominated the lyrics. Bessie Smith and Odetta were her heroines. The author points out that despite the fame and fortune that she achieved, Joplin was basically insecure and in need of acceptance. This book is well researched with more than 100 notes referring to specific quotes from friends, family, and magazines. Teens will be intrigued by the life of this cult figure. Her memory has been kept alive by her recordings and an off-Broadway show, Love, Janis, based on letters she wrote to family and friends during her career, which continues to be staged throughout the country.-Peggy Fleming, formerly at Churchville-Chili High School, Churchville, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Angel (Such a Pretty Face), an admitted Joplin fan, pens a fast-paced biography of the iconic singer's short life and tragic demise with an undercurrent of homage. Over 10 chapters, the dichotomous nature of the 1960s star emerges-as a self- destructive, renegade rocker and an insecure, attention-craving young woman-and readers come away with a good sense of both. Evocative writing describes Joplin's world: from her struggles in her confining Texas hometown to the San Francisco hippie scene and her performances. "Her voice purred and rose in a wail that sent shivers through the crowd. She swung her hair and stomped her foot, moaning.... And then her voice escalated in a keening scream." Personal photographs, album covers, and playbills flesh out Joplin's life story (b&w photographs show a young Joplin in a church choir and elementary school operetta, while a later image depicts the singer, a breast bared, in bed with partially nude bandmates). Recalling motifs from that era, curlicue graphics overlay vivid colors to create vertical borders. A time line, source notes, bibliography, and index conclude this tribute to a complicated pioneer. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

This sturdy biography covers the rock legend's life, from her misfit middle-class adolescence in Port Arthur, Texas, to her death by overdose. Along the way, it attempts to set the record straight about her sexuality, vices, and chronic need for validation. Angel reliably provides the social contexts against which Joplin rose and fell. A copious number of black-and-white photos illustrate events. Timeline. Bib., ind. (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

(Biography. 14 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In an introduction to this long-overdue portrait of the first queen of rock, Sam Andrew, Janis Joplin's former bandmate and best friend, says, There was electricity in the air when Janis was around. . . . She was vulnerable, powerful, super wide open, talented, and interesting in a kind of terrifying way. Building from Andrew's full-hearted and contradictory description, Angel presents a nuanced account of the groundbreaking musician's life, beginning with her challenging adolescence in Port Arthur, Texas. After giving up on fitting in, she sang along to the blues on long drives with equally rebellious teen friends and learned that she had a powerful voice. Tracking back to Joplin's childhood, Angel then moves on to the singer's early years of studying and music-making before she finally grabbed attention with Andrews' band Big Brother and the Holding Company. Angel writes with both a reporter's forthright, detached tone and a fan's full-hearted enthusiasm, and she includes numerous revealing quotes from friends and family members, all sourced in the appended notes and bibliography. Without sensationalizing, she also discusses Joplin's sex-drugs-and-rock-'n'-roll lifestyle, which ended with the singer's alcohol-and-heroin-induced death at the age of 27. A groovy page design, patterned in shades of purple and acid green; a lively annotated time line; and unforgettable archival images will pull even more attention to this captivating view of a musician rarely spotlighted in books for youth.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist