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22

Aug
2016

In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Picture Book Review: Harlem’s Little Blackbird by Renee Watson

On 22, Aug 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

Harlem's Little BlackbirdHarlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills written by Rene Watson, illustrated by Christian Robinson

From Goodreads: Born to parents who were former-slaves Florence knew early on that she loved to sing. And that people really responded to her sweet, bird-like voice. Her dancing and singing catapulted her all the way to the stages of 1920s Broadway where she inspired songs and even entire plays! Yet with all this success, she knew firsthand how bigotry shaped her world. And when she was offered the role of a lifetime from Ziegfeld himself, she chose to support all-black musicals instead.

You can be forgiven for not knowing Florence Mills. No recordings or film of her performances exist. And according to the author’s note at the end of the story, what we know about her singing is through what other sources report about her. It brings to mind the lighthouse of Alexandria.

The book is a little text heavy, but is really captivating. I read the story to my test subject (my four-year-old daughter) and she asked to re-read it several times.  Mills was a woman of principle and she used her fame to support others and not just herself. She gave to the poor and helped other black performers. She also faced a lot of racism. Watson addresses it rather matter of factly without dwelling on it. The text also provides enough context for kids approaching this on their own to know it was Mills’ race that caused the discrimination and they see how she tried to combat it. I think this provides a very good opportunity for parents and educators to discuss racism. I also think teachers can introduce other black performers who helped break the racial barrier, such as Marian Anderson. Combined with other picture book biographies I think this could make a very interesting study of black entertainers and the discrimination they faced even when they were invited into white spaces. Watson has also woven in lyrics from various songs which, if you know the tunes, could make for a really great read aloud experience.

I love Robinson’s illustrations. The big-eyed Florence is totally endearing. The cut paper/collage style of the pictures and bright colors match the liveliness and adventure of  Florence’s life. The scene of her funeral is particularly moving with the blackbirds silhouetted against the white sky and earth-toned buildings. Small blackbirds appear first on the endpapers and make cameos throughout the story as a small nod to Mills nickname. I thought that was clever and it was fun for my daughter to find them as we read.

I think this book is well worth adding to biography collections in libraries. There are more famous entertainers from the same era that could be argued to be more essential, but if you have money I highly recommend it.

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18

Aug
2016

In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Picture Book Review: The Amazing Discoveries of Ibn Sina by Fatima Sharafeddine

On 18, Aug 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

Ibn SinaThe Amazing Discoveries of Ibn Sina written by Fatima Sharafeddine, illustrated by Intelaq Mohammed Ali

Form Goodreads: Born in Persia more than a thousand years ago, Ibn Sina was one of the greatest thinkers of his time — a philosopher, scientist and physician who made significant discoveries, especially in the field of medicine, and wrote more than one hundred books. As a child, Ibn Sina was extremely bright, a voracious reader who loved to learn and was fortunate to have the best teachers. He memorized the Qur’an by the age of ten and completed his medical studies at sixteen. He spent his life traveling, treating the sick, seeking knowledge through research, and writing about his discoveries. He came up with new theories in the fields of physics, chemistry, astronomy and education. His most famous work is The Canon of Medicine, a collection of books that were used for teaching in universities across the Islamic world and Europe for centuries.

So I wasn’t totally captivated by the text in this one. It was in first person which I understand brings the reader closer to the subject, but it also made for a few awkward places. In looking further at the book I discovered that it was originally published in Arabic, which might explain the awkwardness. Things lost in translation.

Otherwise, Ibn Sina made me feel totally inadequate. NBD. He just finished his medical studies at 16. I mean I know it wasn’t like medical school these days, but still. 16. Clearly the man was a genius. The story of his accomplishments was really fascinating. He did a lot and was very interested in life long learning. He studied philosophy, education and even advocated for what we might today consider respectful parenting and teaching.

I wish there had been a little more historical context. He moved around a lot as an adult, but there was only a brief mention that one of the cities he lived in was frequently fighting with another. I think kids in the US will not be particularly familiar with the geography or history of the area or era and need more information. But I also understand that it could potentially make the book unwieldy and boring. A longer more detailed author’s note might have sufficed. I did appreciate that Sharafeddine noted that Islamic contributions to the world are rarely taught in US schools and that was a driving factor in bringing out this book.

I really like the illustrations. They’re done on a speckled brownish paper that makes the colors pop and is different from the usual white paper. The lines are so soft and the shading is spectacular. Everyone has these huge half moon eyes that make them kind of darling and friendly. The illustrations were done in colored pencil and are so saturated and rich.

I’ll definitely be buying this as our budget allows this year. We need more Islamic biographies and I don’t think we have anything on the Islamic Golden Age. The illustrations will entice my students to pick it up. My complaints about the text aren’t significant enough for me to not purchase it.

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17

Aug
2016

In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Picture Book Review: The Sky Painter by Margarita Engle

On 17, Aug 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

The Sky PainterThe Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist written by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Aliona Bereghici

From Goodreads: Louis loves to watch birds. He takes care of injured birds and studies how they look and how they move. His father wants him to become an engineer, but Louis dreams of being a bird artist. To achieve this dream, he must practice, practice, practice. He learns from the art of John James Audubon. But as Louis grows up, he begins to draw and paint living, flying birds in their natural habitats.

I think these are very loosely poems, but it flows so nicely. Not that poetry can’t or usually doesn’t, but it feels more like prose. I’m just not positive it isn’t technically in verse? If that makes any sense. I suppose it doesn’t matter. The book is very interesting and the format really lets you into Louis Fuertes’ life.

The illustrations add little peeks into his life as he ages. The little boy becomes a young man. Children and a wife appear next to the bathtub hosting a loon while Louis sketches. His hairline recedes and grays. Neighborhood children gather around him in his study. While the text mentions all these things the illustrations really bring the small details to life.

One illustration features a picture from Audubon’s book of North American birds. My own daughter is familiar with Audubon’s work and I explained why Fuertes was important in changing how birds were observed and drawn. Audubon killed all his models and drew them. Fuertes observed live birds and kept them that way. Teachers and parents reading the book could use it to start a conversation about how our scientific methods and ideas have changed and improved over the years.

Amazon had the book nearly 50% off so I purchased it right away. Our first grade does a bird unit and I thought this would make a fantastic addition to the collection to support that study. I would certainly pair it with the picture book biography of Audubon that came out a couple years ago, but I thought this one felt warmer and more inviting. Maybe because I’m a bird person and find Audubon’s method a little disturbing. The text and illustrations feel youngish, but totally appropriate for lower elementary down to preschool.

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16

Aug
2016

In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Picture Book Review: When Thunder Comes by J. Patrick Lewis

On 16, Aug 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

When Thunder ComesWhen Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders written by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Jim Burke, R. Gregory Christie, Tonya Engel, John Parra, and Meilo So

From Goodreads: In moving verse, Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis gives new voice to seventeen heroes of civil rights. Exquisitely illustrated by five extraordinary artists, this commanding collection of poems invites the reader to hear in each verse the thunder that lies in every voice, no matter how small. Featuring civil rights luminaries Coretta Scott King, Harvey Milk, Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Sylvia Mendez, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mamie Carthan Till, Helen Zia, Josh Gibson, Dennis James Banks, Mitsuye Endo, Ellison Onizuka, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Yunus, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

This is definitely for older audiences. The poems are unflinching in what they look at- KKK murders (Freedom Summer), racially motivated murders (Emmett Till), deep seated hatred (Harvey Milk, Sylvia Mendez, Japanese Internment)- and the back matter includes more information.

I am reminded a bit of Rad American Women by this book, I think simply because it’s a book of activists and probably by the broad range of people examined. But the format it completely different. These are poems introducing children to people who have fought for civil rights all across the globe and for different groups of disadvantaged people. I didn’t personally click with a lot of them, but that’s just me. I think they will give kids exposure to a lot people they are probably not familiar with, but should have some awareness of- Harvey Milk and Aung San Suu Kyi to name two.

I don’t know why on my first pass through I didn’t realize that there were a number of illustrators including John Parra who I just saw in Marvelous Cornelius and who has a distinctive style. I really loved all the pictures here and I think they could serve as a good entree for reluctant poetry/nonfiction readers.

When Thunder Comes would be so worth putting on our shelves and I will add it to the collection development list, but it’s going to be a damn hard sell. It’s for older readers; it’s a picture book with picture book trim size; and it’s poetry. Those are three types of literature that do not leave our shelves all rolled into one. But I also very strongly believe that marketability can be created. I know there are teachers that would use this and with good readers advisory kids will pick it up. If you talk to your children about civil right struggles or if your school does anything with civil rights I suggest looking into adding this to your library purely for the range of people introduced here.

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12

Aug
2016

In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Picture Book Review: Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner

On 12, Aug 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

Marvelous CorneliusMarvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans written by Phil Bildner, illustrated by John Parra

From Goodreads: In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along. The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi—and a storm greater than anyone had seen before. In this heartwarming book about a real garbage man, Phil Bildner and John Parra tell the inspiring story of a humble man and the heroic difference he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

When I first saw this book I wondered if kids knew or cared about Hurricane Katrina. The kids in my classes were all born after the storm and probably have very little awareness of it. That’s probably not true for kids in New Orleans or the surrounding areas, but how much awareness do even they have? After reading the book, though, I don’t think any of that matters. Katrina is never named in the text of the story and it isn’t a book that focuses on the storm per se. Merely, it shows Cornelius rising to the challenge of cleaning up his city and helping his community in the way he knows best even when the task seems insurmountable.

I’m not really clear on what the message is here. Is it that we should be good at whatever it is we find ourselves doing? Is it about the human spirit and its resiliency even in the face of catastrophe? Is it about the specialness of New Orleans itself? Maybe it’s all these things. In the end it doesn’t really matter. I think this would be a great classroom resource for opening up a discussion about how we can help each other after a disaster, not necessarily a disaster. A good entree for talking about how important community is. Even a good discussion starter about what happened in New Orleans during Katrina. I certainly think that is relevant today in light of all the race-related issues our country is facing.

I appreciate that this is a book about a modern African American. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, we have a lot of books that feature African Americans during the slavery era and the Civil Rights era, but lack them in modern day stories. This is more prevalent with Native Nations, but I find it’s true to about African Americans, too.

John Parra’s illustrations are bright and lively and that matches so well with the verve Cornelius brings to his job. The Crescent City, and specifically the French Quarter is recognizable in all the illustrations. Marvelous Cornelius would be a delightful addition to any collection. I don’t think it’s a necessary purchase, but if you’re looking to add diversity to your shelves here’s a great way to do that.

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11

Aug
2016

In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Picture Book Review: Gordon Parks by Carole Boston Weatherford

On 11, Aug 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

Gordon ParksGordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jamey Christoph

From Goodreads: His white teacher tells her all-black class, You’ll all wind up porters and waiters. What did she know? Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed. His success as a fashion photographer landed him a job working for the government. In Washington DC, Gordon went looking for a subject, but what he found was segregation. He and others were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Gordon wanted to take a stand against the racism he observed. With his camera in hand, he found a way.

I was surprised! The book, despite its author who writes incredible poetry, is in regular prose. It’s also fairly brief text which would make this a fantastic book for a Civil Rights unit and/or African American unit in a lower elementary classroom. Weatherford introduces a lot in the text with few words and leaves the mind with more questions than it answers. Perfect for opening up discussions mostly about race and racism.

I love, love, love the illustrations in the book. From the cover I expected them to be more modern with lots of clean straight lines. While there are plenty of those, as well as a subdued palette, and modern looking textures, I felt they were a more inviting than other illustrations in that style. They certainly capture the clothing and look of the era, but they also focus a lot on the people instead of the setting in a way you don’t usually see in that modern illustration look. It makes sense in a book about a photographer who primarily shot people. In some ways they remind me of old Disney animation, particularly the mostly static backgrounds you would see in cartoons like Robin Hood and Lady and the Tramp.

There’s a great biographical note at the end that I think fits well with the short text. It’s not overly informational making it perfect for the kids who will be most interested in the picture book part, but still offers a little more context for the story. ALSO, Parks directed Shaft?!?! I loved those movies in high school. I had no idea Parks was the director. I wish there were a handful more of his photographs or at the very least a couple websites where kids can go to look at more of his work. Particularly to help out the grown ups who will be sharing this book with kids (as I librarian I have few ideas of where to go, but I suspect teachers and parents will have less of an idea).

I will be buying this one for our library. As I said yesterday I’m looking for good biographies to improve our biography collection and this one fits the bill nicely. It’s interesting to get an arts person in there that isn’t an old painter. I still need way more women, but this one is too good to pass up. Consider it if you have a picture book biography collection. Based on the text it’s about right for first through third grade, but I certainly think you could read it younger depending on how your population feels about opening up hard conversations.

 

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09

Aug
2016

In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Nonfiction Review: Indian Boyhood by Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa)

On 09, Aug 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

Indian BoyhoodIndian Boyhood: A True Story of a Sioux Upbringing by Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), adapted by Michael Oren Fitzgerald, illustrated by Heidi M. Rasch, foreword by Charles Trimble

From Goodreads: Imagine a childhood full of adventure. Where riding horses, playing in the woods, and hunting for food was part of everyday life; where a grizzly bear, a raccoon, or a squirrel was your favorite pet. But imagine, too, being an orphan at the age of six, being forced off your land by U.S. soldiers, and often going hungry. Such was the childhood of the first great American Indian author, Charles Eastman, or Ohiyesa (1858-1939). Carefully edited for a younger audience by multiple award-winning author and editor, Michael Oren Fitzgerald, Indian Boyhood recalls Eastman s earliest childhood memories. He was born in a buffalo hide tipi in western Minnesota, and raised in the traditional Dakota Sioux manner until he was fifteen years old. He was then transplanted into the white man s world. Educated at Dartmouth College, he went on to become a medical doctor, renowned author, field secretary for the YMCA, and a spokesman for American Indians. Eastman was at Pine Ridge during the Ghost Dance rebellion of 1890-91, and he cared for the wounded Indians after the massacre at Wounded Knee. In 1910 he began his long association with the Boy Scouts of America, helping Ernest Thompson Seton establish the organization.

The book starts off well with an interesting foreword by Charles Trimble, a registered Oglala Lakota, that identifies the specific nation that Ohiyesa/Eastman was part of. In the foreword he presents the historical context and sets the scene for the book and while not graphic, he is unflinching in how he presents the events that shaped Ohiyesa/Eastman’s life.

“In the so-called Indian Uprising of 1862 the Dakota people rebelled against white incursions onto their lands and the government’s withholding of treaty-guaranteed rations that left them starving. Ohiyesa/Eastman’s extended family fled to Canada to escape the U.S. Army, which was hell-bent on brutal vengeance…”

This foreword is followed up by an editor’s note in which Fitzgerald is upfront about what changes he has made to the original text. The story and text is adapted from Ohiyesa/Eastman’s autobiography. It seems most of the text was simplified and shortened to make it more accessible to younger readers and to fit it into this format. It appears that all involved with the project are hoping to spark interest in Ohiyesa/Eastman. In a brief footnote Fitzgerald also explains that he is using the term Sioux because it is the term in the original work. He goes on to at least acknowledge that the term is European-American and lists the Nations that fall under that category. At the end of the note Fitzgerald claims that all royalties are being donated to various American Indian causes. We’ll have to take him at his word on that.

The story itself is an interesting look at the Sioux way of life and follows Eastman through the first 15 or so years of his life. The text is fairly short which really makes it best suited to young audiences (first and second grade, probably even kindergarten). In some places I was left wanting more information and detail. That is part of the purpose of the book, but I do think there could have been a little bit more. It paints an idyllic and fun life for a child with hours of play and learning skills like tracking and hunting. But he also shares times that the families went hungry. I do wish the story had continued further and addressed some of his time being schooled in the white town he moves to with his father.

The illustrations are pretty and are reminiscent of Paul Goble’s illustrations. I am not familiar with art from those nations or that area and the similarity makes me wonder if it copies a style seen in Sioux art. There is a page of notes on the illustrations that explains what objects in the illustrations are and their significance. I’m a little put off by the last picture that, according to the notes, is an “imaginative image of Eastman”. It hits a little close to stereotypes, even if its depiction is accurate.

I have mixed feelings about them using Ohiyesa’s white name as the author and including his given name in parentheses. I am glad they included it, but I am left wondering which he would have preferred and which is more culturally appropriate (I suspect the given name).

The reason I reviewed this book, beyond it being interesting, was that I am looking for materials for our third grade class which studies the Sioux. While I am not qualified to make decisive judgements on books about Native Nations, I have to make some calls on what materials to purchase. I think for a general collection this would make a great addition. It’s a little idyllic, but taking into account the fact that it’s true and the book’s notes outside the text, it seems well rounded. I also think it would make an appropriate addition to a home or classroom library for the same reasons. I prefer something like this over presenting made up “native American” legends or stories that are told by outsiders. I am going to pass it along to our third grade teachers, but I suspect the text itself may be a little bare bones for their tastes. I would recommend using it in a classroom in conjunction with both other materials (maybe even Eastman’s original books) and being sure to read the notes and foreword together.

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19

Jul
2016

In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Picture Book Review: Before John Was a Jazz Giant by Carole Boston Weatherford

On 19, Jul 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

Before JohnBefore John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Sean Qualls

From Goodreads: Young John Coltrane was all ears. And there was a lot to hear growing up in the South in the 1930s: preachers praying, music on the radio, the bustling of the household. These vivid noises shaped John’s own sound as a musician.

This one is perfect for introducing both jazz and John Coltrane to a younger audience. Think Kindergarten. It would make an excellent read aloud, because it has great rhythm. The first line/title is repeated on each page and is followed by a few simple lines that give a glimpse into Coltrane’s life.

Art feels cozy and intimate because it isn’t busy. Colors alternate between warm and cool tones with a few splashes thrown on opposite pages. Young Coltrane is so charming with his big head and sweet expressions.

The end is followed up with an informative note that fills in more of the story. You could share this information as you see fit, depending on the audience. His life was not easy. He lost his grandparents, aunt, and father in a short time which threw the family into economic distress. His mother moved to Philadelphia leaving John behind to live in their house that they rented out to boarders. As an adult he abused alcohol and drugs, but did recover only to die at 40 from liver problems.

What really shines in the book is the idea that it was the everyday recognizable things that made John great, not something he was born with. He did eventually pick up instruments and he clearly had innate talent there, but until he really started playing he listened to the world around him and absorbed it all.

An excellent addition to jazz collections for lower school readers.

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17

Jul
2016

In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Picture Book Review: The Sound That Jazz Makes by Carole Boston Weatherford

On 17, Jul 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

The Sound That Jazz MakesThe Sound That Jazz Makes written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Velasquez

From Goodreads: A symphony of sound and color, The Sound That Jazz Makes is an eloquently rendered celebration of a remarkable heritage. Author Carole Boston Weatherford’s lyrical stanzas combine with the power of luminous oil paintings by Coretta Scott King New Talent winner, Eric Velasquez to trace the development of jazz. From African forests to wooden slave ships to Harlem nightclubs, the tragic and joyous legacy of the African-American experience gives jazz its passion and spirit.

This was an incredibly clever riff on the classic cumulative rhyme “The House That Jack Built”. Each page has a quatrain with the rhyme scheme AABB. It really makes the book move along and sing.

The story follows the invention of jazz from Africa through the middle passage to slavery, the Jazz Age, and into the modern era with hip hop. It’s an amazing look at the history of a people through music. It isn’t cumulative in the way the traditional rhyme is, though, and this is where the genius of it comes in. It’s cumulative in its history. Each quatrain builds on the next because the history it presents builds on the history that came before. This also cleverly leaves a lot open for discussion despite the simple four-line text.

The illustrations by Eric Velasquez are beautiful. People glow. Their expressions are so full of life. Each page usually features more than on scene and he combines them seamlessly. Some appear in strips stacked on top of one another. Others are nested inside the larger illustration.

I highly recommend this one for collections that feature some jazz books or are looking to add a few, but also any school library that supports curriculum that studies African Americans. It’s such an engaging look at history that will work for a range of ages.

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14

Jul
2016

In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Picture Book Review: Jazz Day by Roxane Orgill

On 14, Jul 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

Jazz DayJazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph written by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Francis Vallejo

From Goodreads: When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off?

Jazz Day has been getting a lot of really positive reviews. I think this book is clever in a lot ways, but I wonder a bit about kid appeal. Does any one else have a hard time selling poetry to their students? I’m not saying they won’t pick it up and read it, because some kids certainly will. Others seem to want to, but more often than not, when I read poetry out loud to the kids, I get mostly confused faces and “huh?”s. Then I just want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them, yelling, “Listen to this language and think about it!! Isn’t it amazing?!?!?” It’s like if it isn’t in rhymed couplets (ugh, Dr. Seuss) they can’t follow it.

I don’t think this says anything about the importance or appeal of Jazz Day per se. Instead I think it points more to the need to read more poetry to the kids. (If you aren’t already familiar with Poetry Friday, check them out.) In my personal opinion we should all have amazing jazz book collections considering it’s a true American form of music and celebrates African American contributions to society. It also opens up a lot of very hard discussions about race, racism, and discrimination.

How is that we go from rhymed books and nursery rhymes sung and spoken to our babies and toddlers to nothing resembling poetry? Why does poetry in our curriculum and everyday lives seem so exotic? Is it all the boring and terrible poetry written by white men considered part of the Great Literary Canon that we’re forced to analyze line by line in high school and middle school? I know that certainly turned me off to poetry for a long time. Is it because they aren’t hearing spoken word poetry? I don’t really have the answer here, but it really impacts my ability to get kids to read incredible books like Jazz Day.

Okay, I went way off on a tangent here. The thing is Jazz Day is a pretty amazing collection of poems about a fascinating event that was a little slice of history and yet I don’t think it will be overly popular in our collections. Not because it isn’t worthy or worthwhile, but simply because our kids and teachers don’t know what to do with poetry. Or maybe that’s just my school?

The illustrations here have such an incredible vintage feel. The limited color palette and the lines in it really make the people leap off the page and yet feel like photographs. The reveal of the actual photograph is done beautifully with a fold-out page. The top page is black with one word in white “click” and opening the fold reveals the photograph. The thing is, it took me a minute to realize this wasn’t another painting, but the actual photograph. To my mind, the photo and illustrations blended together so seamlessly.

While the poems in this book are good and the illustrations beautiful, the back matter really shines. There is so much good stuff there that really fleshes out the poems, the history of jazz, and the story of the photograph. I will be forcing this book on our music teacher (who is absolutely incredible) and I know she will take to it and would probably incorporate it into her lessons. She does an entire unit on jazz (and not just during Jazz Appreciation Month). If you have kids who will read poetry, know you have teacher that does a unit on jazz, or want to have a jazz storytime I recommend getting this one. Otherwise balance the need to buy books the kids are most likely to pick up and read with your budget.

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