Ann Ingalls has agreed to offer her new book to one lucky winner. All you have to do is leave a comment to get in the running. Reblog, or tweet, or talk about it on facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you before drawing the winners on New Year’s Eve and announcing the winner on New Year’s Day.
I got the idea for writing an alphabet book about jazz when substitute teaching for a music teacher friend. I can sing and shuffle a bit but cannot play much beyond a few show tunes on the piano. I decided to write a book on jazz, something I knew very little other than that I loved listening to it. I read everything I could find on elements of jazz and a few select musicians I admired from the 30, 40s, and 50s and began to consider how I might organize the work. Along the well, I fell in love with Mary Lou Williams’ (the First Lady of Jazz) story and co-authored LITTLE PIANO GIRL (Houghton Mifflin 2010) with my sister, Maryann Macdonald. After that released, I got back to J is for Jazz. It continued to evolve as I had the work vetted by experts in the field. When I learned that World Book was open up for submissions for its new line, Bright Connections, I brushed up my submission letter and hoped for the best. Paul Kobasa accepted the work and he and Erica Bruns edited it. Tom Evans, the Art Director, wisely approached Maria Corte Maidagan for illustration. She is a master of the medium. All along, my wonderful agent, Karen Grencik, held my hand, negotiated the contract, and encouraged. I cannot say enough about her kindness and support for my work. There you have it.
Gr 2–4—Using an alphabet book structure, this slim volume offers its readers a basic introduction to jazz. The opening two-page “Story of Jazz” provides background to set the stage for the alphabetical one-liners: “A is for America’s Music. It ab-so-tive-ly began with African American rhythms. And how!” Bold, geometric illustrations always include an artistic interpretation of the featured word and its letter hidden within: Benny Goodman’s arm makes a “G” and Jelly Roll Morton’s tie creates a “J.” Many pages feature asides highlighting jazz slang and vernacular: “They put on their glad rags and got a wiggle on!” “When this jazzman picked up his licorice stick, he could really groove.” Pages highlight important people, places, instruments, musical terms, and expressions that play a role in jazz history, including “Floorflushers,” ” Improvisation,” “Kansas City,” and “Zoot Suits.” Always a complicated letter, “X” stands for “aXe,” which readers may need to refer to the extensive and helpful glossary to understand. A bright and serviceable first dip into this genre of music.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Ann Ingalls is the author of 26 books in print or forthcoming. Her first picture book, LITTLE PIANO GIRL, was published in 2010. ICE CREAM SOUP, an early reader, was published in spring of 2013 by Penguin. BIGGETY BAT, a series with Scholastic, and J IS FOR JAZZ, World Book (Bright Connections), launched in fall of 2014. Two new books, FAIRY FLOSS AT THE 1904 WORLD’S FAIR (Little Bee) and THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN MISSOURI (Sterling) will be released in July of 2017. You can find Ann at the keyboard seven days a week at http://www.anningalls.com. Please stop by to say hi.