Let Music Ring!
Is there a rating higher than five? I do not usually get this excited over a book. In the end this is just a really good book. However, the fact they talk about lynching in a children’s book (though tastefully done, if such a thing is possible) is a real eye-opener for how far books have come. This is what makes this book stand out. It is not shying away from the issue of race, discrimination and the results of that. It does not sugar coat the fact Ms. Holiday was a crusader in the way Malcom X and Dr. King were. We just do not hear about her in the same way. The afterwards covers her death without being graphic. Same with the other subjects that have been introduced. Therefore, an older child would be fine, but I am not sure I want to have this discussion with a 5-6 year-old. This would be a gift I would give to an adult quicker than a child. Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song by Gary Golio is a must read.
Play…I mean read…88 Instruments by Chris Barton to tone down the intenseness of the story above. This is just a fun counting book about music and instruments. It does not get much simpler than that. However, it is a fun read-aloud. Perhaps it will get a child into math or music, but hopefully it will get them into reading. Adults will appreciate the dynamic of the parent’s styles of letting the child pick and will see their own children in the fact this young boy is having trouble making up his mind. Anyone who knows about musical instruments will realize which one he will choose before it is revealed.