Monday, June 10, 2013
Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Publication Year: 1998
Location: Personal Collection
Awards: Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King Award
Summary: A biography of the musician Duke Ellington. It tells how young Edward Kennedy Ellington began playing the piano and how hearing ragtime music led him to become a jazz musician. The scratchboard technique used in the illustrations go perfectly with the mood of the story and the fanciful swirls of color that represent music are breathtaking.
Classroom Ideas: I used this book in my 5th grade classroom when we studied the 1920s Harlem Rennasaince and the influence of jazz on popular culture. It could also be used to study biography or black history and the word choice includes popular 1920s slang. The endnotes includes a more scholarly biography of Ellington and a list of sources that would be helpful to anyone researching his life.