Posted tagged ‘Ella Fitzgerald’

Sneak Preview of a Fabulous Book!

July 11, 2019

ella and marilynI had the opportunity to read Vivian Kirkfield’s upcoming nonfiction book, Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. With a lyrical quality to her writing, Vivian Kirkfield has written a beautiful story of friendship between two iconic personalities, Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe. They were different in many ways, but they both had the same hopes and dreams. The author piques curiosity by giving readers a bit of background information about each woman. Ella Fitzgerald wanted to share her music with the world, and Marilyn Monroe hoped to become a great actress. How did these two women forge a life-long friendship? When Marilyn was offered a role in a musical, the first thing she did was to buy her idol’s records to listen to and study. Those records were Ella Fitzgerald’s. Marilyn’s performance in the movie was hailed by critics. This gave Marilyn a voice in her career and future projects. She immediately bought a ticket to Ella Fitzgerald’s next concert and remained afterward to thank Ella for her inspiration. A special bond formed between the two women. During that time, Ella wanted her voice to be heard by everyone, but because of racial discrimination, Ella was not allowed to perform in certain places. Marilyn stepped in to help. She made a bargain with a very popular nightclub owner promising to bring reporters to promote his club if he would hire Ella Fitzgerald to sing. It worked! After lengthy preparations, Ella Fitzgerald was finally able to share her music and voice with the world. Vivian Kirkfields’s talent for telling an inspiring story can be felt with every page turn, and Alleanna Harris’ captivating illustrations harken back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. I highly recommend adding this book to your collection.

Coming this January!



Jazz Up the Music Curriculum

October 2, 2014

Music teachers looking to introduce students to jazz and jazz greats might find these picture books a great addition to the curriculum.

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For the youngest set, Charlie Parker played be bop is spare in text, but it’s oh so much fun! The book is written and illustrated by Chris Raschka. His illustrations and text work together to create a lively rhythmic story about Charlie Parker and his saxophone. Rhyme and onomatopoeic words add to the fun of the book.

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For older students, there’s Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa written and illustrated by the award-winning duo of Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney. The story is told from the point of view of “Scat Cat.” He takes us through Ella’s life from the time she was a child to when she found her true calling as The Queen of Scat. Brian Pinkney’s whimsical scratchboard illustrations and Andrea Davis Pinkney’s cool cat language keep readers jiving through the book.

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Pair the above-mentioned book with Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat Ella Fitzgerald written by Roxane Orgill and illustrated by award-winning artist, Sean Qualls, and you have two impressive books about a jazz great. Both books provide back matter for added information and further study.

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Another picture book in the jazz category by the husband/wife team of Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney is Duke Ellington. Brian Pinkney’s illustrations use the same whimsical scratchboard technique as in the Ella Fitzgerald book, and Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lyrical language is music to the readers’ ears as they “Take the “A” Train” through the life of Duke Ellington. Once again, there is back matter for added information.

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In the book, Dizzy, Jonah Winter tells the story of Dizzy Gillespie, beginning from the time he was a poor, young boy living in the Deep South. Dizzy got into fights and broke rules, but when his music teacher gave Dizzy a trumpet, his life changed. The trumpet was his ticket to a better life. Winter tells how Dizzy’s “shenanigans” got him noticed and how he continually broke the rules when it came to using his trumpet to entertain the crowds. Playing with a band in New York, Dizzy puffed his cheeks, created his own BEBOP, and became a jazz sensation. The colorful and imaginative illustrations created by artist, Sean Qualls, bebop along with Winter’s story.

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One more book that features a jazz singer is Mister and Lady Day: Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved Her written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. Lady Day took care of Mister, and Mister took care of Lady Day. Amy Novesky tells how Mister provided the loving support and courage that Billie Holiday needed – especially when she sang at Carnegie Hall. The use of bright colors, collages, and humorous spreads by illustrator Vanessa Brantley Newton add an appealing touch to a heart-warming story of a talented singer and her dog.

Are there any more suggestions?

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