I cannot claim to be any sort of an expert when it comes to Jazz music. I like the sound of it, can recognize some instruments, and can name a couple of legendary musicians, like Duke Ellington. However, after reading Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove by Barry Wittenstein, I can add another musician to the list.
This picture book is a biography about Sonny Rollins, a jazz musician from New York City. He came to prominence in the 1950s, in Harlem clubs, but then decided that the fame was too big and took a break from the scene. Even though he wasn’t playing in the clubs anymore, he was still playing…but standing on (not under, but ON) the Williamsburg Bridge! After two years of playing on the bridge, Sonny went back into the studio and recorded an album titled, The Bridge.
There’s a lot to like about this book. As I’ve said before, I enjoy any book that I learn something new from and I definitely gained knowledge from this biography. I also liked the fact that Wittenstein has gone all in with the jazz theme. The text is written in a prose format that, if read correctly, has a jazzy feel to it. The parts of Rollins’ life have been divided into “sets”, just like we are at a jazz concert. And the illustrations…they are absolutely beautifully done by Keith Mallett and add so much to the ambiance of Rollins’ story and the setting. Wittenstein also
This book is a great read, whether you are introducing your child to jazz, want to expose them to a small dose of history, or if you yourself are a jazz aficionado or a jazz novice like myself.
*I was given a copy of this book partly in exchange for a review. The release date for Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove is May 21, 2019.
I’ve talked about my struggles and triumphs with graphic novels on this blog quite a bit, and when I came across an opportunity to share more positivity around them, I took that chance. So here’s an article I wrote for a local paper about my feelings about graphic novels, with a couple of examples of titles your child might be interested in.
We used to have two young trees in our backyard that were about the same size. However, one of the trees starts blooming and sprouting leaves much faster in the Spring than the other. One Spring, I looked at the one that wasn’t sprouting and asked my husband if we needed to cut it down because I thought it might be dead. He assured me it wasn’t dead and that I just needed to wait. Sure enough, a few weeks later the tree completely bloomed and was right on par with the other tree.
I share this analogy because it was right about the same time that I was concerned about my son becoming a reader. As much as I try not to compare my two kiddos, let’s be honest, I do. And while my daughter has been an eager reader very early on, my son has been more reluctant and it has stressed me out just a tad. I was concerned that he wasn’t going to be the reader my daughter was going to be, and that it would affect his academics, his future, *insert any of my many mom exaggerations here*.
However, much like that tree that I was considering chopping down, my child bloomed. He’s still not an avid reader like his sister, and I’ve (basically) come to terms with the fact that he probably won’t be. But, he can read books, does get excited about them and even has some favorites. And most importantly, I’m no longer worried that he’s going to be homeless on the corner because he’s not a reader. I realized that he was just like the tree, and although he didn’t start as quickly, he is moving at his own pace and is doing just fine.
So, while you are #RaisingReaders and waiting for your flowers to bloom, be patient, it’ll happen when you aren’t even looking.
Ever give your kids a task, and somehow, much sooner than you expected, you hear the words, “I’m Done!”? Like when I say “Clean up your room”, and even though the floor is littered with toys/clothes/etc, less than 5 minutes later I hear, “I’m Done!”, but a quick look in the closet or under the bed tells the true story of how “clean” it really is.
If you’ve ever had a similar experience with your own child, then this picture book by Gretchen McLellan is one you AND your kid will be able to identify with.
Little Beaver is supposed to be building a dam, but his other animal friends keep distracting him with plans to play, so he keeps telling Mama and Papa that he’s done. Time after time though, Mama and Papa have to redirect Little Beaver, reminding him that he’s not done yet. Eventually, everyone is happy and Mama and Papa got their dam (as they should have).
Besides the cute story line that I think many can identify with, another aspect of this book that I liked was all of the animal sounds throughout the book. Sounds like the beaver tail going “slap, slap, slap” make for a more entertaining story and are fun to read aloud.
Naturally, when I read this with my kiddos, they had no idea why the book reminded me of them *eyeroll*, but they enjoyed it nonetheless, and I think your kids would too.
*I received a copy of this book from the author and Red Fox Literary in exchange for an honest review.*
I don’t know about you, but I tend to think a lot (probably too much) about how my children will talk about their childhood when they’re adults. I hope that they talk fondly about the memories that we make as a family, and part of that hopefully includes our time reading together. When a friend of mine sent me this quote (not written by me), that’s what came to mind.
Although I share book reviews and my thoughts and strategies on raising readers because I want as many children as possible to become capable readers who actually enjoy reading, I also want those same children to have wonderful memories of becoming readers when they become adults.