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SONG FOR JIMI

THE STORY OF GUITAR LEGEND JIMI HENDRIX

This creative, impassioned, in-your-face biography is as on fire as Jimi Hendrix’s guitar.

Smith gives light, air, and sound to the life story of an unparalleled musician who moved to his own rhythms.

Arranged in five multipage “verses” of poetry with an “outro” and “interlude” to reflect Hendrix’s blues, this fascinating biography offers a feast for the ear as Smith tells of Hendrix’s childhood rife with parental conflict, his mother’s traumatic departure, his father’s denigration of his music, and Hendrix’s need to escape a life of exclusion and ostracism. After flying with the Army’s Screaming Eagles, Hendrix often found himself at odds with his bands because of his individualism and drive to play solo. Smith describes him as “a git-tar magician, / a sonic tactician, / a Picasso with a pick / painting in the blues tradition.” Rodriguez’s artwork uses heavily saturated reds, yellows, and (appropriately) blues to create scenes that reveal how music-possessed Hendrix was. Whether illustrating a young Hendrix’s playing a broom as if it were a guitar or plucking “the fireworks exploding in his head,” Rodriguez’s gritty, oil-based woodblock paintings effectively capture Hendrix’s passion, drive, and genius. Smith describes wanting to conclude with a “moment of triumph…to celebrate the unique individual who inspired me.” And he does: With his “show-stopping tricks / …behind-the-back, between-the-legs, / teeth-plucking licks,” Hendrix set his guitar on fire and “showed the world / how to kiss the sky.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This creative, impassioned, in-your-face biography is as on fire as Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. (author's note, biographical timeline, personal playlist, discography, references) (Picture book/biography. 8-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4333-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
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  • New York Times Bestseller

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BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI

From the Becoming Ali series , Vol. 1

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers.

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
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  • New York Times Bestseller

Two bestselling authors imagine the boyhood of the man who became the legendary boxing icon Muhammad Ali.

Cassius was a spirited child growing up in segregated Louisville, Kentucky. He had a loving home with his parents and younger brother, Rudy. Granddaddy Herman also was an important figure, imparting life lessons. His parents wanted him to succeed in school, but Cassius had difficulty reading and found more pleasure in playing and exploring outdoors. Early on, he and Rudy knew the restrictions of being African American, for example, encountering “Whites Only” signs at parks, but the brothers dreamed of fame like that enjoyed by Black boxer Joe Louis. Popular Cassius was especially close to Lucius “Lucky” Wakely; despite their academic differences, their deep connection remained after Lucky received a scholarship to a Catholic school. When Cassius wandered into the Columbia Boxing Gym, it seemed to be destiny, and he developed into a successful youth boxer. Told in two voices, with prose for the voice of Lucky and free verse for Cassius, the narrative provides readers with a multidimensional view of the early life of and influences on an important figure in sports and social change. Lucky’s observations give context while Cassius’ poetry encapsulates his drive, energy, and gift with words. Combined with dynamic illustrations by Anyabwile, the book captures the historical and social environment that produced Muhammad Ali.

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers. (bibliography) (Biographical novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49816-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown and HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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DRAMA

Brava!

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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