Erin Forson's Reviews > Sweethearts of Rhythm

Sweethearts of Rhythm by Marilyn Nelson
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Nov 29, 2011

really liked it

Sweethearts of Rythm
by Marilyn Nelson artwork by Jerry Pinkney
Segregation damaged all races—that is made very clear in this collection of artwork and poetry. In the 1940's there were a group of women, mostly black women, but also Hawaiian, Hispanic and Asian women who were a part of a swing band. Swing was the type of music that made you want to get up and boogie—it was a music that encouraged independence and fun when the Nazi's were making the world a very dark place. But things in the United States weren't good either. The two girls in the swing band who were white had to wear wigs and blacken their faces so that they didn't get arrested for playing in a band with people of another color. And yet the girls traveled all over the country and then the world to play their music and bring hope to people, no matter what color those people were. The poems about these women are told by the instruments they played, and are accompanied by lovely watercolor paintings in hues of peach and blue. It's a quick read that will make you want to take your time—to look at the paintings and the poems again and again.
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