I grew up with parents who loved Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Van Morrison, and Neil Young, so I have definitely heard of Pete Seeger. I knew that he was influenced by Woody Guthrie just as Bob Dylan was (I once wrote a paper about Walt Whitman being the origin of American folk music because of his influence on Woody Guthrie). But I did not have any idea of Seeger’s influence on the social issues that I learned about in this picture book. Though Reich is clear in her Author’s Note that the picture book bio is just a snippit of his life, what she does cover shows me what an impact Seeger had in so many different social issues throughout his life. This story gave me hope. It showed me that music and people who care can definitely make a difference. That someone like Pete Seeger, someone of privilege, can join forces with the oppressed and fight against injustice. That music and poetry and words can make a difference....more
Dan, The Taxi Man celebrates music by bringing a band together and putting focus on each musician and their instrument. The onomatopoeias, the rhythm, and the repetition throughout makes this a book that kids will want to read over and over again (just like Trent does!).
Trent loves this book! The rhythm, repetition, and onomatopoeias make him want to read it over and over again!...more
This wordless picture book celebrates a variety of music genres in a beautiful way. He is able to show through illustrations the feeling of music personified. Merveille’s artwork really bring each genre to life. The easiest way to explain how he is able to do this is to show you:...more
Oh man! This book brought flash backs to every boy band obsessed student I have taught over the last 10 years! Emma’s love for Boyz3000 can represent any middle school fangirl/boy who is so in love with the band, their music, and one of their members so blindly that they feel that the love is the most real thing they’ve ever felt! (And this is coming from a girl who cried when she saw Hanson live for the first time, so I know this emotion!) In addition to the story about Emma’s love of Boyz, Emma also has to learn responsibility to earn money to go see them in concert as well as some mean girl issues in middle school all told in a journal format which I think middle schoolers will find true to their voice. ...more
Love is a language that is spoken in so many different ways. Kiely's book is a love poem to forever love, first love, family love, questioning love, lLove is a language that is spoken in so many different ways. Kiely's book is a love poem to forever love, first love, family love, questioning love, love of music, love of words, and the struggle of love. Beautiful and touching and will fill your heart....more
We love music in my house, so anytime a book and music can be connected really makes me happy. I think the Okee Dokee Brothers’ music is catchy, knee-slapping, sometimes funny, and have great messages. I love how they all promote the out doors and adventure. And just when you think it cannot get any better, you see the illustrations. Brandon Reese’s illustrations are perfect! They are so colorful and loud and cartoon-ish. Just the type of fun you think would be in a book by the Okee Dokee Brothers. ...more
The crazy cast of characters are what really make this book. Oh, and the reminiscing of camp. Camp really is something that is hard to explain unless you go yourself, but Stacy Davidowitz does a great job bringing the reader into Camp Rolling Hills and all of its quirkiness. And to add to the quirkiness, the characters in the books are so much fun! They are quite the mix of personalities. From stereotypical girly-girls to a cat-obsessed, sweet girl to a do gooder to a philosophical jock. Their interactions and characterization are what keep you reading the most! I also love the mix of letters home throughout the books....more
I found this book to be touching and beautiful and sad. Books about slavery always make me so ashamed of our past, so they are hard to read yet so important. I think Weatherford’s story really captures the brutal conditions of slavery in the South but also the freedom that was felt on the one free day in Louisiana. Also, I personally like rhyming couplets, so I thought it had a great sing-songy quality. And let’s not forget the illustrations. They are pieces of art. They could each be framed and put in a museum....more
I love stories that celebrate music, diversity, and passion, and this book does all of that. Troy’s story of learning how to play a trombone at age four, playing with Bo Diddley at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at age 4, leading his own band by age 6, finding a deep love in music, and becoming a successful musician is inspiring. I love his stories of forming a band with his friends–nothing could stop them, even the lack of instruments! It is also so amazing that The illustrations are beautiful as well. They are collage and watercolor and truly bring the story to life. I love how Collier brought the music to life by visualizing it in his illustrations....more
I adore The Beatles. I think they, along with other artists like Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Bob Dylan, really changed the direction of music and opened up a whole new world of music that truly made modern rock and roll possible. Because of that, and how much I love their music, I have always enjoyed learning about them. This middle grade picture book biography really gives us a wonderful look into the childhood and the creation of the band. In addition to really giving us insight into each boys’ lives and how The Beatles began, Susanna Reich did a beautiful job combining fact, primary sources, and lyrical writing. In addition to the beautiful writing, the art that accompanies it is stunning. They are truly paintings as the summary states.
I love all of the different illustrations. I haven't listened to the CD yet, so it may move to 5 stars if Trent and I love it!
I am amazed by everything Margaret Wise Brown can do. First children’s picture books and now beautiful poetry/lyrics in a stunning picture book. Almost all of Trent’s favorite books have music associated with him. Goodnight Songs is a perfect addition to his bedtime reading routine. We really loves all of the songs! In addition to the music and the poems/lyrics, what makes this book stand out even more is the phenomenal illustrations throughout. Some of my favorite illustrators including Melissa Sweet, Molly Idle, Peter Brown, and David Small....more
I know I have said this before, but I love the trend of writing picture books about strong woman who should be well known because of their brilliance. Melba Liston is an inspiration. What I loved most about this book is that I think it captured Melba’s spirit as well as the rhythm of the music. The lively oil paintings mixed with Melba’s amazing story make you feel like you know her by the end of the book. I was excited to read the back matter to learn more, and immediately went to You Tube to hear some of her music. I am so glad I was introduced to her....more
*Told in a very matter-of-fact tone and style, Hanna's story does not hold back from the horrors of the Holocaust and shows how one piece of good luck*Told in a very matter-of-fact tone and style, Hanna's story does not hold back from the horrors of the Holocaust and shows how one piece of good luck can change your life. (I am glad the name was changed for the US release. Much more about playing than boys.)...more
This is quite the book! When I ordered it, I hadn’t realized that it was illustrated chapter book biography, but after learning about Josephine, I can see why she couldn’t be confined to less pages. Her life is an explosion of adventure from running away at 13 to standing up for her civil rights to spying for France during WWII to adopting her “rainbow tribe.” Like Melba, Josephine was a new name for me, but I cannot believe I hadn’t heard of her before. She is the epitome of strength and was a large part of the civil rights movement. I am so glad that I read this picture book that truly captures her spirit through the rhythmic prose and colorful, lively illustrations....more
I first want to address the cover. I have read and heard teachers/reviewers mention that this cover is inappropriate for schools (and also that it isI first want to address the cover. I have read and heard teachers/reviewers mention that this cover is inappropriate for schools (and also that it is misleading); however, once you read the book, the cover is perfection. The cover isn't about violence. I think it is about finding a way to be above violence which is what Ali, Noodles, and Needles are trying to do.
When I Was the Greatest is about Ali. Ali lives in Bed Stuy, New York where violence and drugs run rampant; however, Ali's focus is his family and boxing. But then there is Noodles. Noodles is a ticking time bomb, but he is also Ali's best friend. But being near a bomb puts you in danger.
Ali's mom Doris and his sister Jazz may be two of my favorite family members in a YA novel. Jazz is so sassy! She is the brains behind all of the nicknames, and has such funny stories behind each of them. Doris, on the other hand, is very serious, but she is a rock. She ensures that her children are respectful and have the foundation to be able to succeed.
This book is also so important because of Needles. It shows acceptance, honor, and respect are more important than anything. Including reputation.
When I Was the Greatest is character driven and is about the boys (which is where the "misleading" cover complaint comes in), but you will fall in love with these boys and will want to know what happens to them. ...more
Synesthesia is something that I only became aware of after reading The Noisy Paint Box, and the idea of seeing colors of words or hear colors or foods having colors when you eat them just is quite fascinating and intriguing. This is a picture book, a very well done picture book, that introduces Jillian who is a young girl who loves her 5 senses and specifically loves being able to see colors of things. She doesn't realize that this is different until she starts school, but she soon realizes it isn't something to be ashamed of but something to be proud of. ...more