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Blues Journey

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  123 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
The opening verse of this latest father/son collaboration probes the very essence of a form--and a feeling; it asks the question that anyone who has sought solace in music can relate to. The pair's first composition wandered through a Harlem collage, depicting "a call, a song, the mood indigo, a language of darkness." This new duet is the blues: verbally and visually, it e ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published March 1st 2003 by Holiday House (first published February 2003)
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Monster by Walter Dean MyersFallen Angels by Walter Dean MyersStreet Love by Walter Dean MyersScorpions by Walter Dean MyersSunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
Walter Dean Myers
33rd out of 70 books — 29 voters
This is Just to Say by Joyce SidmanA Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn NelsonA Humble Life by Linda Oatman HighSong of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems by Joyce SidmanAn Old Shell by Tony Johnston
Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Awards
8th out of 29 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 198)
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James Govednik
Nov 14, 2009 James Govednik rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, music
Walter Dean Myers pays homage to the blues in this comforting picture book, illutrated by his son, Christopher Myers. It begins with an informational page (on a blue background) explaining the history and development of the blues. The poetry follows the blues form, AAB, and touches upon universal themes as well as elements in the struggles of African-Americans. I found that a few of the blue-toned portraits created a bit of racial ambiguity, maybe the way the blues connects all of our sorrows, r ...more
Sep 22, 2009 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural, poetry
Summary: Blues Journey is a picture book meant for older readers. It is written in a way that feels like poetry and singing as well. The book is written in such a way that the pictures convey support the emotion that is within the text. The blues is addressed on each page in a different way to create a flowing story of the joys and heartache of the blues.
Reflection: Wow. After reading that book I needed to stop for a minute and really think about what it just said. Blues Journey was a wonderful
Briana Nelson
I liked this book for it's writing and illustrations. I liked how the author repeated certain lines in his poem. For example, one stanza is "Blues, won't you free me,/let all this suffering cease?/Said blues, wont you free me,/let all this suffering cease?" The repetition of the line expresses the passion and desperation of the speaker. I also thought the illustrations were amazing. The only colors used were white, brown, black, and blue. The blending of the colors enhanced the mood for the poem ...more
Laura Rumohr
Nov 13, 2009 Laura Rumohr rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Blues Journey is a picture book intended for older readers because the content included is somewhat mature and takes a relative amount of background knowledge to truly understand. Walter Dean Myers included a glossary at the end of the book to also help in understanding some of the terms included in the story. There is minimal text on every page, but don't let that fool you, this book is powerful and thought-provoking. Myers writes of how creating the blues does not happen overnight, it'
Nicole Disilvestro
Oct 07, 2012 Nicole Disilvestro rated it it was amazing
1. I would classify this book as poetry.
2. This is a book about African American blues written in poetry form.
3. (A.)- I thought that this book was a very accurate book of poetry. It was very easy to read and I think children would really enjoy it. It takes the blues and puts into poetry which makes the reader better understand what the blues means to African American Culture.
(B.) This book is a very appropriate book of poetry for students to read. It is very easy to read and it is easy to und
Isebel Martinez
Myers, W. D. (2003). Blues Journey. New York: Holiday House.

Blues Journey by Walter Dean Myers is a poetry picture book about the blues and how it relates to African American culture. The book starts by describing the origin of the blues, its history, and how it has changed over the decades. Also, this book has the text features of a timeline, which highlights major events in blues history, and a glossary of different words used specifically in the blues. Both of these text features can help re
DuEwa Frazier
Jul 14, 2014 DuEwa Frazier rated it it was amazing
I have read several of Walter Dean Myers books. He was a great storyteller for young people. His work will continue to be shared and revered. His passing is a great loss for us all. The poetic language in this book Blues Journey is beautiful, and haunting as it gives details from Black history. The illustrations by Chris Myers are beautiful and carry so much depth of emotion. I recommend this book for children, Grade 5 and up and also adults who collect diverse children's books.
Hannah Taylor
Feb 25, 2015 Hannah Taylor rated it really liked it
Personal reaction: I really liked this poetry book because it was more of a narrative story written in verse form, unlike the other books I read. It was much more interesting to read because of the format.

Purpose: This book would be great to read aloud to 1st to 3rd graders in a section on history in general or the history of jazz music. It tells about how the genre evolved through slavery and desegregation. It even includes a timeline at the back that would be great to show the students and hav
Kate  K. F.
Dec 17, 2012 Kate K. F. rated it it was amazing
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of the blues through text that reads like a blues' song combined with gorgeous illustrations that are striking and powerful. Each page tells a different part of the story of the blues and how it reflects African-American culture. In the beginning of the book is a small essay about the history of the blues and at the end is a timeline that reflects the pages and a glossary of the language used.

In terms of what ages this book would be appropriate f
Mar 01, 2010 Josiah rated it it was ok
The words of author Walter Dean Myers and the deep, meaningful drawings of his son Christopher collaborate very well to bring out the feel of authentic blues music in this book. For a real blues artist or connoisseur, blues is about taking the parts of life whether they're good or bad, and just laying it out there in the music the way it really is. That's the mood of this entire book, maintained well from start to finish.

Walter Dean Myers includes some very informative notes at the beginning
MissAmanda Fay
Sep 25, 2014 MissAmanda Fay rated it it was amazing
Amazing book! If you love blues, or if you have young kids the pictures and rhyming verse will be enjoyed. Also a great conversation starter on the birth of blues, civil rights, and music culture in America. Still a mainly a picture book, but with more heart & feeling than I've seen in a while.....and I read a lot of em!
Blues Journey is a visually haunting trip through the evolution of the African American experience. The text or chorus, written in the form of 'call and response' provides the thread that connects the story from page to page. The dramatic illustrations by Christopher Myers, are dominated by a logical palette of blue, white, gold and brown and appear at times to have almost a photographic quality. This is a beautiful book that recounts a sad story, but one that is worth telling. Age 8-12 and 13 p ...more
Jordan Hernandez
Feb 26, 2015 Jordan Hernandez rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book. It can be used during a poetry unit to introduce the pattern of repetition to the 2nd to 3rd grade. A superb book to also introduce the idea of discrimination.
Samary Morales
Dec 07, 2012 Samary Morales rated it liked it
Blues Journey briefly explores the blues. The book is a journey, and the verses and images progress forward through the timeline of the blues. It is from the end of slavery through the beginning of the civil rights movement. The pictures also show the gradual movement from country to city, the black migration from South to North. The blues timeline is printed at the end of the book, along with a glossary of symbolic terms used in blues lyrics. Which is very useful for students to have. I also ha ...more
Dec 11, 2015 Msjodi777 rated it it was amazing
My only complaint is that it is just too short. <><
Mar 10, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
This is a book of poetry that tells about African American struggles through the years. It uses many words that are common in American culture, but is used differently in the African American culture. It has a glossary at the end to tell you how the words are impacted by the culture.

I would use this in a History class or English. While the poetry is easy to read, the meaning behind the lines would be lost on anyone under the 9th grade level. The poetry in this book, can be difficult to dissect,
Aug 23, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit
Oh my, Christopher Myers' illustrations, primarily in blues, whites and browns, are so full of feeling, pain and sadness, and pathos that they are riveting. The design amplifies the illustrations further, done with blue ink, white paint and brown paper bags - breathtaking. Walter Dean Myers' text with with preliminary explanation is a good introduction to the blues, but doesn't quite keep pace with the visuals. If the verse had been a bit stronger, this would have easily been a 5-star book.
Aug 28, 2011 Jill rated it really liked it
I loved the idea of this book. The author has taken parts of the lyrics to blues songs and put in images. It's not a cohesive story, but the point is less on story-telling and more on viewing songs as poetry. This book is also attempting to introduce children to blues music. It has a timeline and a glossary of words in the back. Some of the topics are very heavy for a child, but I think they could understand it and enjoy the book with some guidance from an adult.
Oct 15, 2011 Relyn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: English teachers
This book is a wonderful example of how the perfect illustrations can expand and build on the author's meaning. The author's son created illustrations that remind me of Jacob Lawrence's work. This book is a visual treat. It would also be a wonderful tool for upper elementary teachers to use to show their students that they absolutely ARE NOT too old for picture books. It would also be excellent to use for a lesson on using rhythm and cadence in your writing.
These poems were alright in my opinion, but it does have allot of meaning
Sep 05, 2011 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Blues lovers
Wow! For now, just WOW!...

Okay now I can illuminate my reaction. I love listening to the blues (live is best, of course), so this picture/poem book caught my eye. Then it truly astonished me. The art work is amazing (and done by the author/poet's son). The illustrations are so perfectly paired with the lyrical poetry. This book is a beautiful experience.

Don't really get how it is a kids' book though.
Mar 13, 2011 Q_Barb rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rll520-poetry
Beautifully written in lyrical blues style with lush illustrations of blues and browns by Christopher Myers. The poems speak to a timeline in the back of the book. Walter Dean Myers provides an introduction about the roots of blues music, its meter, style and history. Great addition to a classroom, as part of a music discussion, history or social studies.
CH _Kenya  Walker
Mar 21, 2010 CH _Kenya Walker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Walter Dean Myers celebrates the African experience in America with a soulful, affecting blues poem. Accompanied by Christopher Myers's bold paintings, Blues Journey creates its own resonant music. Meyers explores the poetry of the blues with words and the artist responds with his own blue/ brown riffs. It is a journey worth taking.
Charles Martin
Feb 15, 2011 Charles Martin rated it it was amazing
Myers writes the entire book in poetic blues and it is accented by Christopher Myers' incredible paintings, also accented with shades of blue. The book includes a blues timeline and glossary in the back and is a great example of getting students interested in learning about music and learning about how music affects culture.
Jul 21, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing
Wonderful introduction to the origins of blues music and its form. Terrific glossary on terms and imagery used in blues lyrics. Poetry done in AAb or AAba format. Great for a poetry tie in to music and lyrics. Beautifully illustrated by author's son and additional information about the book available in Teaching
Debbie Hoskins
This is a wonderful book. Poetry invokes blues music and subject matter. The illustrations are so amazing - expressive, poignant, beautiful. This should have gotten the caldecott in 04. Artwork was created with blue ink, white paint, and brown paper bags. Virtuosic.
Penny Gallop
Feb 12, 2008 Penny Gallop rated it really liked it
This book brings together two cultures that merge to create a new style of Blues. Poetry that was brought to America during the slave period.
Nov 30, 2007 MissInformation rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: E
Shelves: poetry
African American history is portrayed through verses of heartrending blues
lyrics. Includes glossary
and timeline.
Jul 21, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, music
Poetry about the musical form: The Blues. Great glossary and introductin to the terminology and history of the blues.
Apr 01, 2010 Josie rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, poetry
Yay poetry month! I did a really poor job of reading this to some kids today, but it was nice.
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Stacie Williams
Stacie Johnson

Walter Dean Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsburg, West Virginia but moved to Harlem with his foster parents at age three. He was brought up and went to public school there. He attended Stuyvesant High School until the age of seventeen when he joined the army.

After serving four years in the army, he worked at various jobs and earned a BA from Empi
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