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Roots and Blues: A Celebration
Contributor(s): Adoff, Arnold, Christie, R. Gregory (Illustrator)

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ISBN: 0547235542     ISBN-13: 9780547235547
Publisher: Clarion Books
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Binding Type: School And Library - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: January 2011

Annotation: Lyrical poems and prose explore how Blues music has been part of everyday life throughout history, from its origins in the sounds of the earth, through slaves’ voices singing of freedom, to today’s greatest performers--and listeners.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Blues (Music); Poetry.
African Americans; Music; Poetry.
Music; Poetry.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Poetry
- Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Music
Dewey: 811/.54
LCCN: 2009026625
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 9.25" H x 7.25" W x 0.75" (0.90 lbs) 86 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): IV>

Arnold Adoff is the recipient of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children for the body of his work. He lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio. To learn more, please visit www.arnoldadoff.com.

R. Gregory Christie is a Coretta Scott King Honor Award-winner and a Theodor Seuss Geisl Award recipient. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Please visit his website to learn more: www.gas-art.com.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall)
Evoking blues music through theme and sometimes rhythm, Adoff's sixty free-verse poems, idiosyncratically punctuated and spaced, flow easily. There's not much variety to the pieces: the subject is African American life, the imagery largely rural and Southern. Dignified scenes by Christie don't illustrate the book, exactly, but they give it some welcome contrast. The lack of table of contents and index is frustrating. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2010 November #5)

In this visceral collaboration, Adoff and Christie honor the enduring legacy of blues music. Vibrant, haunting acrylic paintings portray crowded slave ships, chain gang labor, and the crackling energy of juke joints. Several poems titled "Listening" capture the sounds of the decades in which they're set (the "high-metal shuffle of chains between wrists") and mimic the rhythms and repetitions of the blues ("Singing vegetables for sale near Auction Square./ Silence under heavy snow one Kansas City winter./ Memphis waterfront noise and rush/ Saint Louis waterfront noise and rush"). This is a challenging, open-hearted collection with images and poems that bleed into one another, but also stand powerfully alone. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2011 February)

Gr 5 Up—This exquisite collection of poems and paintings celebrates the history and culture of blues music. Adoff traces the horrific journey of slaves to America and the role that music played as a means of survival, of passing on "the ancestor words." Even as the lyrics describe harsh realities, the innate beauty of music made with sticks, spoons, or whatever was at hand speaks of an irrepressible hope: "Under the hot sun: the chop chop/hoe/measures out the beats of freedom." Christie's haunting acrylic images bring to life the drama and emotion of the music, as well as the dignity of his subjects. In the latter half of the book, Adoff introduces blues performers Bessie Smith, Lonnie Johnson, Son House, Ma Rainey, Robert Johnson, Johnny Lee Hooker, B. B. King, and Muddy Waters, stepping down on the "Chicago/train/station/platform/with a suitcase/of Mississippi River/with a suitcase/of Mississippi/Delta with a suitcase of Mississippi/dripping/on side/walk/s." As with Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers's Blues Journey (Holiday House, 2003), this splendid addition to American history units should resonate with a wide audience. Adoff comes full circle with this stirring poem: "And we have always sung about hearts and healing/broken pieces into new and beating creations when/eyes open to first light of morning sun shining/in my back door/shining/in my back door./Shining/shining:/Always."—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

[Page 122]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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