by Marilyn Nelson
Illustrations by Jerry Pinkney
Nelson and Pinkney pay tribute to this extraordinary group of musicians--racially integrated, beautiful young women traveling the country in the 1940s with their swing band. Nelson’s poems are voices of the instruments, the words reflecting rhythms of the music and conditions of the time--the war, traveling in a bus, jitterbug, Jim Crow laws, the blues. Pinkney captures the intensity of the music and the players’ lives, combining watercolor with collage in colors like turquoise, scarlet, and bright gold. Subdued browns evoke soldiers’ uniforms, earth of a victory garden, the depressing brown of a hall with separate drinking fountains for white and “colored.” Warm, vibrant browns light up faces of the musicians and audiences. Hum “I’m in the Mood for Swing,” while watching saxophonist Willie Mae Wong sitting on her suitcase by the bus, her foot just out of its red high-heeled pump. It’s the history of an era for all music-lovers, especially devotees of jazz!
2009, All Ages
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.