A Child's Introduction to Jazz: The Musicians, Culture, and Roots of the World's Coolest Music (Child's Introduction)

by Jabari Asim (Author) Jerrard K Polk (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

Get ready to swing with A Child's Introduction to Jazz, an interactive journey into one of the richest and most soulful music genres in the world. Listen while you learn with QR codes that will connect you to the instruments and musical flair of jazz.

Welcome to jazz! Feel the music and rhythms of all the different styles of jazz, from swing and Dixieland to the blues and bebop, with this interactive introduction to the world's coolest music.

Author Jabari Asim will take you on the journey through the history of jazz as you discover the most important musicians and singers while hearing some really cool sounds. You'll learn all about the roots of jazz in Africa and New Orleans and how the music traveled to different parts of the United States and around the world. Along the way you'll meet legendary trumpeter Louis Armstrong, who shaped a new form of jazz called improvisation; pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington, who helped create the big band sound of the swing era; and the singer Billie Holiday, whose songs such as "God Bless the Child," "Don't Explain," and "Lady Sings the Blues" have become jazz standards.

Listen along to the sounds of jazz by downloading music and hearing instruments such as trumpets, clarinets, trombones, and even singers scatting as they improvise melodies. With a pull-out poster showing the different instruments of jazz, A Child's Introduction to Jazz hits the perfect beat and will have you bebopping and scatting in no time!

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Kirkus Reviews

Both anecdotal and encompassing, this attentive introduction ably prepares readers for further learning—and listening.

School Library Journal

Gr 3-7--Early jazz, bebop, jazz fusion, and more are covered in this beautifully and thoughtfully laid-out book. Every page has large full-color illustrations that highlight small orchestras, fashion of the era, lovely rendered images of many instruments, and more. Included are "Listen Along" boxes with QR codes on some pages to hear samples of jazz through the ages. A variety of instruments, bands, and voices are featured on these recordings. Many famous musicians are highlighted, including Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea, and others dating back to early musicians Jelly Roll Morton and Bessie Smith. Musical novelties, the history of select instruments, and tidbits about American history as it relates to music, all give a well-rounded view of jazz. For those so inclined, this book truly does cover "The Musicians, Culture, and Roots of Jazz" as the subtitle advertises. The writing seems a bit elevated for the intended age group, although a precocious reader or an avid jazz fan could likely breeze through this very well-researched book. VERDICT For those interested in an attractive and comprehensive history of jazz, this book is a must-have.--Linda Annable

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Jabari Asim

Jabari Asim is a professor at Emerson College, where he is director of the MFA program in Creative Writing. A recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, he is the author of several works for children. They include A Child's Introduction to African American History, Preaching to the Chickens, Whose Toes Are Those, and Me and Muhammad Ali.

Jerrard K. Polk has been drawing all his life. He won his first art contest at the age of 5 and was educated in public schools by many skilled art teachers. His love of books and poetry was encouraged by his mother, a librarian. Today, he enjoys sharing his fondness for art and entrepreneurship with children. He is greatly inspired by jazz and the dapper fashions of its innovators. In 2021, he illustrated The Story of John Lewis and Black Inventors.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
Publication date
December 20, 2022
Child's Introduction
BISAC categories
JNF036040 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Music | Jazz
Library of Congress categories
Jazz musicians
History and criticism

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