Trombone Shorty – Troy Andrews


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  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Lexile Measure: 840
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (April 14, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419714651
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419714658

EXCERPT from School Library Journal:
“Where y’at?” Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, opens his book with this phrase, letting readers know that it’s New Orleans parlance for hello. In this stunning picture book autobiography, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Andrews shares the story of his early years growing up in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. Andrews desperately wished to emulate the musicians in his family and those he saw performing all over his city, so he and his friends made their own instruments out of found materials, played in the streets, and marched with bands. When one day he found a battered, discarded trombone bigger than he was, Andrews finally had a real instrument to play, and he practiced day and night, acquiring the nickname Trombone Shorty from his older brother. The moment Bo Diddley pulled Andrews on stage to play with him during the New Orleans jazz festival was a turning point, and he hasn’t stopped performing since. Collier’s beautiful watercolor, pen-and-ink, and collage artwork picks up the rhythm and pace of Andrew’s storytelling, creating an accompaniment full of motion and color. Each spread offers a visual panoply of texture, perspective, and angles, highlighting the people and the instruments. Andrews’s career is still on the rise, his music gaining an ever wider audience, and this title will be an inspiration to many. VERDICT Coupled with a selection of Trombone Shorty’s music, this work will make for fun and thoughtful story sharing. A must-have.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

Rationale for Inclusion:
This beautifully illustrated book makes the reader experience the sights, sounds, and cadence of New Orleans. An excellent addition to any library, Trombone Shorty will delight audiences young and old.

Big time bonus: Hear Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, play here!

 

Photos Framed: A fresh look at the world’s most memorable photographs – Ruth Thomson


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  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1090
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (August 5, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763671541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763671549

EXCERPT from School Library Journal:
A brief introduction provides the framework for this slim book, which details 27 photographs under four thematic sections: portraits, nature, and documentary, and art images. Each quality, full-page reproduction sits opposite a page of information that includes a few facts (title, date, and name of the artist), along with a paragraph on the picture, noting its artistic or historical relevance, and one on the photographer discussing his/her medium, subjects, etc. Most of the featured artists are American or European. “Photo Thoughts” are presented as questions, which focus on the artist’s decisions and/or the composition. They, and the “Blow Up” and “Zoom In” boxes, which point out additional details, are generally relevant but occasionally superfluous. The selections span a number of years and subjects, offering a look at how the art form developed, and about some of photography’s most famous practitioners. For example, under portraits, readers will find a daguerreotype of Louis Daguerre (by Jean-Baptiste Sabatier-Blot, 1844), who produced the first eponymous permanent photograph. Nature photography highlights Eadweard Muybridge’s “The Horse in Motion” (1878), which is credited as one of the precursors to high-speed photography and film. Modern images and artists are represented in work of Martin Parr, David Hockney, and Cristina Garcia Rodero. Consider Framed for collections needing an introduction to the topic.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

Rationale for Inclusion:
Here is an engaging book that will delight all visual learners. It includes 27 different photos which range from normal to the abstract, with lots of insights and factoids about each one. It offers an excellent way to foster interest in photography, history, and more.

Bonus: Learn more about one of the featured photos in this book, the famous “Afghan Girl” by Steve McCurry here.

 

Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Six Guiding Beliefs (as told by his niece) – Angela Farris Watkins


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  • Age Range: 6 – 11 years
  • Grade Level: 1 – 6
  • Lexile Measure: AD970L
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (December 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416986936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416986935

EXCERPT from School Library Journal:
In this vividly illustrated picture book, Watkins, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., provides a simplified version of his six guiding principles of nonviolence: have courage; love your enemies; fight the problem, not the person who caused it; when innocent people are hurt, others are inspired to help; resist violence of any kind; and the universe honors love. Referring to King as “Uncle Martin,” Watkins states each principle and then describes one clearly written example of how King followed it. Instances selected include the burning of King’s home in 1956 and King’s famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in which he argued for nonviolent resistance. The bold, colorful mixed-media illustrations capture the emotion of the situations described, and Watkins’s writing style is conversational but impassioned (“So even when Uncle Martin was hurt, he did not respond with violence.”). Though informative, this title lacks back matter. An excellent choice for younger students studying King and for teachers explaining violence in history and current events, as well as for beginning middle school students.—Stephanie Farnlacher, Trace Crossings Elementary School, Hoover, AL

Rationale for Inclusion:
The fact that this book is written by Dr King’s niece adds additional significance to its already remarkable content. The message of this book is timeless and so important in these turbulent, divided times. Young readers will be introduced to topics like Civil Rights, nonviolent protest, and social movement. Highly recommended!

Bonus: A lovely cartoon video that includes Love Will See You Through read aloud can be found here.

 

Tricky Vic: The impossibly true story of the man who sold the Eiffel Tower – Greg Pizzoli


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  • Age Range: 7 – 9 years
  • Grade Level: 2 – 4
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (March 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670016527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670016525

EXCERPT from School Library Journal:
This picture book takes a look at Robert Miller, a successful con man who managed to dupe many and by posing as a government official was even able to “sell” the Eiffel Tower to scrap metal dealers, before being caught and imprisoned. Miller used more than 45 aliases during his life but was known to many as Tricky Vic. This is a fascinating story, with quirky, retro-style, mixed-media art that will appeal to readers. Beyond a line or two at the beginning about Vic turning to a life of crime, Pizzoli doesn’t moralize about his subject’s actions. Tricky Vic is a little-known subject, and some may wonder if there’s an audience for this title. However, this is an intriguing account, and through sidebars, the book offers some effective avenues for discussing related historical events, people, and places, such as Al Capone, Prohibition, counterfeiting, and Alcatraz. An attractive, though esoteric, offering.—Dorcas Hand, Annunciation Orthodox School, Houston, TX

Rationale for Inclusion:
This book is so much fun to read, and amazingly true! Young readers will be interested to learn about “Tricky Vic” and topics like historical landmarks, events, and people.

Bonus: Read an interview with author Greg Pizzoli here.

 

Caroline’s Comets: A true story – Emily Arnold McCully


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  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House (February 28, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823436640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823436644

EXCERPT from Amazon.com:
Caroline Herschel (1750–1848) was not only one of the greatest astronomers who ever lived but also the first woman to be paid for her scientific work. Born the youngest daughter of a poor family in Hanover, Germany, she was scarred from smallpox, stunted from typhus and used by her parents as a scullery maid. But when her favorite brother, William, left for England, he took her with him. The siblings shared a passion for stars, and together they built the greatest telescope of their age, working tirelessly on star charts. Using their telescope, Caroline discovered fourteen nebulae and two galaxies, was the first woman to discover a comet, and became the first woman officially employed as a scientist―by no less than the King of England! The information from the Herschels’ star catalogs is still used by space agencies today.

Rationale for Inclusion:
A great book about a little-known woman astronomer, Caroline’s Comets is a welcome addition to any library. Introduces topics like astronomy, 18th century history, and women’s history.

Bonus: See the NASA page on Caroline Herschel here.