Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Before John Was a Jazz Giant

Title:               Before John Was a Jazz Giant
Category:       Biography, Picture Book
Grade:            1-4
Author:          Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator:      Sean Qualls
Publisher:       Henry Holt and Company
Date:               2008
Pages:             32

The story of John Coltrane as a boy before he became a jazz legend, written as a free-verse poem or song. 

This book was lyrical and beautifully illustrated; however, readers unfamiliar with Coltrane will likely find it extremely confusing.  John’s full name is never mentioned during the book, and much about his identity and career are left to inference or background knowledge.  It might be useful in a classroom if African-American artists are being studied, or as a read-aloud in a family that already knows and appreciates his work, but would not be recommended for a stand-alone read.


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