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Travels with Louis
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Travels with Louis

4.57 of 5 stars 4.57  ·  rating details  ·  23 ratings  ·  15 reviews
"When Louis was home in Queens, neighborhood kids would gather around as he brought them into jazz. His music still vibrantly lives around the world, and his spirit of humaneness lives in Travels with Louis by Mick Carlon, teacher of jazz to the young of all ages."—Nat Hentoff

"Thanks to his friendship with the great Louis Armstrong, twelve-year old Fred sees his world expa...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Leapfrog Press
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Terri
Louis Armstrong is one of the themes for this month's Children's Literature Network Book Club reads. Set in 1959 and 1960, "Travels with Louis" by Mick Carlon is a wonderful middle school novel that introduces the reader to the great Louis Armstrong, and to both his tremendous musical and personal influence.

Twelve year old Little Fred and his father, Big Fred, were gathered long ago under Armstrong's generous wings after the death of their father/grandfather. The Freds have also lost their wife...more
Lisa
I was already a fan of Carlon's Riding on Duke's Train, so I began Travels With Louis with some excitement. Wow! This is a totally different novel from Carlon's first. To begin, it's narrated in the third person, focusing on the relationship of a recently widowed father, Big Fred, and his son, Little Fred. Both are dealing with grief the best they can. Big Fred's father, a now deceased jazz musician, was a childhood friend of Louis Armstrong's and Louis is a father/grandfather figure to both. Th...more
Deb 64
We just read Travels With Louis in our book club, and I must say that I loved it. The protagonist, Little Fred, is an African American boy living in Queens, New York in 1959-1960. In one chapter he is called the despicable n-word by a white woman. The boy's reaction brought tears to my eyes because it mirrored my own feelings when confronted with this word when I was a girl. I found so much to love here--a hobo who tells Fred an absolutely fascinating (and as I learned, true) story about Teddy R...more
Sue Trafton
I simply can't see why anyone would give this remarkable novel one star! This is one of the most heartfelt, involving books I have read in quite a while--and I'm a grandmother! This novel has inspired me to truly listen to Louis Armstrong's music and to even visit his home, which is a museum in Queens, and which I heartily recommend. From the lovely relationship of the father and son, Big Fred and Little Fred, to young Fred's struggles with stage fright, prejudice, and the death of his mother, T...more
Hank
I was born in Corona, Queens in 1953 and actually knew Louis and Lucille Armstrong as neighbors. We kids called them "Uncle Louis" and "Aunt Lucille." So I was curious whether or not this book would capture the Louis Armstrong I knew. All I can say is that the author must have talked to people who knew Pops because the man I knew is here. This book often brought tears to my eyes because it was like visiting with Uncle Louis again. My pals and I were treated so often to icecream cones and given l...more
Mel
Louis Armstrong comes alive in the pages of this marvelous book. But more than that, the relationship of Little Fred and his dad, Big Fred, is beautifully done. I can still see Big Fred, reading in his favorite chair in his living room, listening to his son practice his trumpet. What a story. I can see this book interesting young people in America's greatest art form, jazz music. As a youngster I dealt with prejudice and Little Fred's painful experiences brought back painful but truthful memorie...more
Barb Mcguire
For a young adult novel, Travels With Louis is sprawling and ambitious, aiming for the fences. And for me, it connects. Whether meeting Langston Hughes in a crowded nightclub or taking part in a riotous Civil Rights demonstration, this book moved me. Whether hanging out with Louis Armstrong in London or Paris, or listening in to Louis and Dizzy Gillespie on a snowy day in Queens, this book moved me. Maybe it was the relationship of the father, Big Fred, and his son, Little Fred, both still hurti...more
Yvonne
You have to understand, my sons do not like to read. But I took a chance and bought this and the same author's Riding on Duke's Train. Man, oh, man. One of my sons devoured the Louis novel while the other gobbled up Duke, and then they switched. "Mom, you have to read these!" they said, so I did. Both of these novels are righteous, heartfelt, interesting, inspiring reads. I've always loved Duke and Louis but now I'm iistening to them more and, more importantly, my sons are listening to them. Bot...more
Bill Thorpe
After reading the author's Riding on Duke's Train, I bought this at my favorite local bookshop--Titcomb's in Sandwich, Massachusetts. This novel is very different from Duke's Train--a bit darker and more complex. Yet it's a nourishing read, with a young protagonist who loves his widowed father, Louis Armstrong, and playing his trumpet. I found every page of this novel to be heartfelt. Thinking of my own dear father, on some pages I felt the tears forming. Louis Armstrong comes across as I know h...more
Harry
Like Mick Carlon's Riding on Duke's Train, this book is also bursting with heart. This is a truly moving story about a father and son and a surrogate grandfather named Louis Armstrong. I've always known that Satchmo was more than just a smiling, beaming entertainer. He was a powerful artist and a man who faced prejudice with grit and a smile. The Armstrong in this novel is a full-blooded literary creation, filled with humor and sad wisdom. Little Fred and Big Fred have become my favorite recent...more
Mercedes
This novel broke my heart. Little Fred and Big Fred are trying so hard after the death of their mother/wife. Father and son are there for each other--but they have help in the form of one Louis Daniel Armstrong. From his love to red beans and rice to his gigantic heart, the Satchmo in this book is the real deal. Like the author's Riding on Duke's Train, this is an important contribution to American literature. I feel that young people across our country should be reading these books. Then they w...more
Wycliffe
You have to understand, Pops is my idol. I was skeptical before I began but this book had me from page one on. Pops came alive in my imagination through the author's dialogue and descriptions. I know quite a lot about Louis Armstrong and it's all in here--his good heart, his laugh, his childhood, his generosity, his amazing genius. But the story of Little Fred and Big Fred is also beautiful. I'll say it simply--this book put tears in my eyes and a warm spot in my heart. I've read it once and I'l...more
Chip Knowles
One of the reasons this book hit me so hard is because the father, Big Fred, reminds me of my dad. Like Big Fred, my dad's wife, my mother, died young, leaving him with a young son. But my dad never let me down. This novel rings true on every page. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Simon Ritchie
I'm a middle school teacher and this novel was added to our curriculum last year. In 24 years of teaching, I've rarely seen a book reach kids so deeply. As a teacher, this book taught itself. Because Langston Hughes is a character, I was able to use his poetry; because a lunch-counter strike (with John Lewis) was depicted, I was able to use videos and articles dealing with the Civil Rights Movement. And because the glorious music of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie is mentione...more
Kristine Daniels
Great book for older elementary/ middle schoolers. Jazz music, civil rights, how music is used to express feelings, grieving, alcoholism, and overcoming stage fright are just some of the themes running through this story of a young trumpeter who happens to be friends with Louis Armstrong...
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This book has inspired me 3 8 Jul 25, 2013 03:37PM  
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