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suggested by Vicki Palmquist, children's literature enthusiast, who listens to jazz, reads about jazz, and finds this true American invention to be infinitely fascinating
|Reading List menu|
written by Stephanie Calmenson, illus by Bruce Degen
Who knew that a mouse in the house would run to the piano and immediately begin to play ... jazz!? Or that the plentiful pets in the house would join in? Or that baby would love the rhythm and begin to dance? A wonderful, read-aloud introduction to the rhythm of jazz with feet tapping, hands clapping ... ideal for the very youngest child in mid-afternoon (this is not a bedtime book!) or for primary classrooms for music and movement.
"Doo-dat, diddy-dat, diddy-dat, doo!"
written by Lisa Wheeler, illus by R. Gregory Christie
With the diverse vocabulary of jazz, and representing the many facets of jazz, this exuberant book with its rhythmic text will entrance babies and young listeners. It's fun to read out loud because the rhyme is so singable. Christie's illustrations of a big, jazz-lovin' family will make you smile.
"So they BOOM-BOOM-BOOM and they HIP-HIP-HOP and the bouncin' baby boogies with a BOP-BOP-BOP!"
|This Jazz Man
written by Karen Ehrhardt, illus by R.G. Roth
To the rhythm and tune of "This Old Man," this upbeat picture book celebrates the sounds, language, venues, and musicians of the jazz world. With words such as "bebop," "sticks," "beat," "wails," and venues such as the Newport Jazz Festival, Birdland, and Minton's, young jazz afficionados will appreciate the vocabulary and the short descriptions of each of the musicians included: Louis Armstrong, Bill Robinson, Luciano Pozo y Gonzalez, Edward Kennedy Ellington, Charlie Parker, Art Blakey, John Birks Gillespie, Thomas Wright Waller, and Charles Mingus. Song titles included will help readers seek out specific music to sample.
written by Jonah Winter, illus by Sean Qualls
John Birks Gillespie had it rough as a kid. His father beat him and it made him angry. He got in a lot of fights as a result. It wasn't until he picked up a trumpet and blew his anger through the mouthpiece and out the bell of the horn. Winter tells a story of triumph, moving from anger to joy, from neglect to being one of the stars in the jazz firmament. The founder of "bebop," Dizzy Gillespie was admired for his ability to play the trumpet and his grandstanding ability to blow his cheeks out wide. A cool book about a cool musician who invented cool jazz.
|Reading List menu||Before John Was a Jazz Giant:
a story of John Coltrane
written by Carole Boston Weatherford,
illus by Sean Qualls
How is a jazz musician born? In simple but effective language, the author paints the sounds and experiences that contributed to Coltrane's brilliance. Qualls' art is moody, energetic, and complex in its depth of meaning. A good choice for children ages 4 and older whose minds are exploring the world around them. The Author's Note tells more about Coltrane's childhood and his later life. "Selected Listening" suggests CDs that can be played at home and in the classroom.
"Before John was a jazz giant, he heard steam engines whistling past, Cousin Mary giggling at jitterbuggers, and Bojangles tap-dancing in the picture show."
written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus by Brian Pinkney
Edward Kennedy Ellington asked that folks call him Duke. They did. By the time he was playing at Carnegie Hall with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, they called him "King of the Keys" and "Piano Prince." But it was a journey to get to the premiere music hall in the country. That journey started with the Duke quitting piano lessons in favor of baseball. Describing the excellent musicians who played with him, the text is informative and engaging. The illustrations are scratchboard, the palette jewel-toned ... they fit the majesty of their subject well.
|Sweethearts of Rhythm: the Story of
the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World
written by Marilyn Nelson, illus by Jerry Pinkney
Stunning. Nelson and Pinkney create perfect harmony with the poems and illustrations that bring the International Sweethearts of Rhythm to the modern audience. Told from the point of view of their instruments, now residing on shelves in a pawn shop, the details are rich in describing the all-girl swing band that formed at Piney Woods Life School in Piney Woods, Mississippi, and traveled to Chicago, Washington, DC, New York, and Europe (as part of the USO) during World War II. The artwork is magnificent in its power to relay energy, tell a story, and the illustrator's empathy for the era. The poems, written in specific forms that evoke the music, are each titled with a song the Sweethearts played. This is a book that will challenge your motivated students ... and, oh, what a sweet reward.
|Jazz on a Saturday Night
written and illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon
"Jazz is an original African American art form born at the turn of the 20th century." Honoring this uniquely American music, the Dillons have created a "Dream Team" of Miles Davis, Max Roach, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Stanley Clarke, Ella Fitzgerald, and "a guest with guitar" who sits in as the musicians improvise. Although this session never took place, it's exciting to think what the music from that night might have been. The richly vibrant evening colors are appropos to the venue. One can tell it's a special event: several lucky children are present, even though it's late. Even more amazing, the Dillons narrate an included CD that introduces jazz, each of the instruments, and the original song "Jazz on a Saturday night, lyrics by Leo & Diane Dillon, music and production by Ira Ingber.
written by Wynton Marsalis, illus by Paul Rogers
My fascination with this book is never-ending. I find something different to learn, another detail to inspect, a new recording to listen to, and a poem to admire each time I read one of these pages. Written by one of the best jazz educators of our time, Wynton Marsalis, the illustrations are equal to the content, both making a book that is greater than its separate elements. Biographies of 26 musicians by jazz historian Phil Schaap add to the depth of understanding. "Notes on the poetic forms" will help young and old to a better mastery of the subject. A must-have for ages 10 and up.
Letter C, John Coltrane: "Couldn't he cook up a cauldron of convoluted callaloo to confound the casual fan and curious recruit alike with cosmic cubist counterpoint, incomprehensible crescendoing of cymbals, ceaseless chaos, crisscrossed columns of sonic calculus, and a stormy sea of collective concerns come crashing down to chase the crazy crowd away!"
|Reading List menu||Heaven’s All-Star Jazz Band
written and illustrated by Don Carter
In a text that grooves and swings with the rhythms of jazz, Don Carter celebrates some of America’s greatest jazz legends.
Grandpa Jack loved jazz. He called it “heavenly.” So now that heaven is where Grandpa Jack’s at, his grandson imagines it to be a place filled with music. In a club called the Cotton, Grandpa Jack can hear all his favorite musicians play together in Heaven’s All-Star Jazz Band. And when that glorious music has filled his soul, Grandpa Jack steps up onto the stage and adds his own bit of rhythm with his famous spoons solo.
Don Carter celebrates some of jazz’s greatest legends and the lasting bond their music creates between a boy and his grandfather. A very moving book for jazz fans.
|Charlie Parker Played Be Bop
written and illustrated by Chris Raschka
Reviewers called this book "sassy,""syncopated,"and "ebullient."Raschka creates a loving portrait of the legendary jazz saxophonist without playing a note.
written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus by Brian Pinkney
Scat Cat Monroe narrates a celebration of the life and career of the first lady of song, noting her distinctive style and far-ranging impact upon contemporary music.
|Once Upon a Time in Chicago
written by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Jeanette Winter
Created by a mother and son team, this simple biography of the great jazz musician, Benny Goodman, describes how his extraordinary musical ability was encouraged by his immigrant father and how he got his first clarinet.
|John Coltrane’s Giant Steps
written and illustrated by Chris Raschka
An ingenious tribute to one master from another. Imagine John Coltrane's classic "Giant Steps" performed by raindrops, a snowflake, a box, and a kitten, respectively the tempo, the bass, the piano, and the saxophone melody. Full color.
|The Jazz Fly
written by Matthew Golub, illus by Karen Hanke
While seeking directions to town, a fly picks up the rhythm of the answers he gets from a frog, a hog, a donkey, and a dog, and then uses these sounds to jazz up his band's music.
written by Jonathon London,
illus by Woodleigh Hubbard
Hip Cat journeys to the city by the bay to live his dream of being a jazz musician. Do what you live, be the best you can be ... musician or not, life can be terrific.
|Max Found Two Sticks
written and illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Although he doesn't feel like talking, a young boy responds to questions by drumming on various objects, including a bucket, hat boxes, and garbage cans, echoing the city sounds around him.
|I See the Rhythm
written by Toyomi Igus, illus by Michele Wood
Chronicles and captures poetically the history, mood, and movement of African American music, from slave songs through ragtime, blues, cool jazz, to hip-hop. Michele Wood received a Coretta Scott King illustrator award for this book.
|Jazz: My Music, My People
written and illustrated by Marcel Monceaux
With stylized portraits and brief essays, Marcel Monceaux writes about his personal connection to the music, the composers, the players, the musicians, the vocalists. A perfect book for music lovers, particularly those who aren't yet crazy about reading.
|Reading List menu||Jazz
by Walter Deans Myers, illus by Christopher Myers
"Not all jazz will be loved by all people, but anyone who understand the history and development of the art, and the dedication and genius of the true jazz performance, can appreciate its beauty and depth."
A collection of poems with jazz themes, jazz tempos, jazz attitudes. The poems are smart, evocative, filled with emotion, all together bringing comprehension to a wide field of music.
The portraits of the musicians are absorbing, so alive that you can hear them speak, telling their tales of a life of music, of feeling the beat, the emotion, the sheer joy and heartfelt pain of jazz.
The book includes a glossary of jazz terms that elucidates the slang, such "Chops: Technical ability. "Man, his breath is bad, but he's got some good chops."
A Jazz Time Line begins in the 1800s at Congo Square in New Orleans, the one place in the country where African music and dance are legally allowed and encouraged, and ends with today, when "jazz is played throughout the world, in concert halls, night clubs, and theaters."
Copyright 2002- Children's Literature Network.