Illustrations by Frank Morrison
It’s Women’s History Month, so meet Melba Liston, who fell in love with a trombone when she was seven (1933). Self-taught, she learned to play the long shiny instrument and never looked back. From child prodigy playing a radio solo, Melba went on to a professional career in jazz, appearing with Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and Quincy Jones. As a woman in a man’s musical world, she endured slights from jealous male players; in the South, she became discouraged by discrimination and Jim Crow laws. Melba didn’t quit, though, becoming an outstanding composer and arranger, traveling around the world with her band and “making her trombone sing.” Morrison’s horizontal spreads emphasize the trombone’s length, while rich browns, oranges, and reds, along with curving and diagonal lines evoke the vivid jazz sounds. A final, impressionistic painting fills the stage with light as a misty Melba leans back to play her long trombone. Enjoy the jazz!
2014, Ages 5 to 9
Check it out from your library using the library catalog. Donate to an improved Sebastopol Regional Library here.
Recommended by: Barbara Talcroft
Barbara Talcroft reviews children’s books professionally for childrenslit.com and for Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database. She has a Master’s degree in International Children’s Literature. She also has many years’ experience as a teacher. Barbara is one of the founders of LANTERN and its past chairperson.