Discussion of the above book with the author, illustrator and Georgetown Law Professor Emerita, moderated by our own Deborah Taylor. Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building, Mary 3, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. No RSVP needed unless you want to bring a group of children. Then please respond to: Monica Valentine, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-707-1950.
This picture book biography features simple yet powerful writing and stunning illustrations made from oil paints and collage. Weatherford highlights the ups and downs of the remarkable life of Lena Horne, who spoke up for civil rights and paved the way for future African American entertainers. Overall, this is a beautiful book with an inspiring message for young readers. Meaghan McKeron. Seven to Ten.
A story of the Battle of Fredericksburg and the power of music for both sides of the Civil war, especially the emotional impact of Home Sweet Home. The theme is what unites vs. what divides us. Levy quotes from letters from both soldiers to those at home, usually written by very young participants. All reflect on the desire to rejoin loved ones. Similar to the response of those "higher up" to the soccer game that united both sides during WWI, bands on both sides were banned from playing Home Sweet Home less it dis-spirit the soldiers but it continued to be played. Extensive end notes add information about the Battle, the creation of the song and a time line of the Civil War. An important part in this divisive time.
Edie Ching (ages 7-10)
Yoshio, who laughs at the sound of his own giggles as he splash-dances in Tokyo’s rain, is determined to find the sound the elderly koto players says is her favorite: the elusive sound of “ma,” or silence.
Three misfit high school friends traverse triumphs and heartbreak in their small Tennessee town. Distinct voices, a strong sense of place, and issues of class, religion, and opportunity are explored in this brilliant debut.
A harmonica connects three main stories set in Germany, Pennsylvania, and California during the WWII era. Music figures largely in the story and the audiobook format allows the music to be fully integrated. This audiobook takes an already strong novel to an even higher level.
A young girl in Cuba dreams of drumming, something “only boys do,” and makes her musical dreams real. Inspired by the life of Millo Zaldarriaga. Colorful, whimsical illustrations bring Cuba and its culture to life.
Bright, stylized illustrations show young Jamaican Clive’s passion for music. He moved to New York’s Bronx and transformed into DJ Kool Herc by using two turntables to play hip-hop breaks for adoring street dancers, thereby creating a new American music form.
Elise decides that completely transforming herself will be the only way she can survive sophomore year. When unsuccessful, her complex character weaves into a beautifully-plotted story that discloses her rescue through an unexpected source.
With help from his “BFF” Libby, thirteen-year-old Nate endeavors to escape his small town to audition on Broadway, resulting in hilarious misadventures and poignant self-discovery. Undercurrents of age-appropriate sexual identity, bullying, and family problems, fuel this well-paced plot.
After a failed attempt to assimilate with the high school masses, 16-year-old Elise Dumbowski contemplates suicide - only to have that backfire as well. Alone and lonely, she stumbles upon an underground dance club while walking around one night to clear her head. At the club she finds more than friendship. Standing behind the turntables, she finds her passion, talent, and ultimately, herself.
This book had me at hello. Elise’s dry humor and pragmatic approach to life are a winning combination. Her voice is honest, funny and rings 100% authentic. She is a character that will connect with teen readers, wherever their place in the high school hierarchy. A thoughtfully drawn cast of secondary characters including parents and siblings who aren’t invisible, classmates who range from cruel to well-meaning to un-noticed and dance club kids rounds out this character-driven novel. Insightful writing that encapsulates big ideas in simple ways drives the novel forward and keeps the reader looking to Elise as a source for humor and honesty. I was struck by passages like “...Sometimes when you are worn down, day after day, relentlessly, with no reprieve for years piled on years, sometimes you lose everything but the ability to cry.” (p.12) “Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don’t know yourself very well, you might even believe they’re right.” (p. 241) “But you know better than anyone else how the Internet sees everything and nothing, all at the same time.” (p. 262)
And the music! Not only do the songs and bands mentioned throughout the novel make you want to put together an iTunes playlist to put yourself in the club with Elise (even when you don’t know the song or the artist), but a list “Recommended Listening” is included after the acknowledgments that gives a full listing of title and artist to get interested readers started.