"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph

As many of you know I am keeping my eye on books published in 2016 with multiple starred reviews as potential award books for the Youth Media Awards, especially the Printz Award. At this moment in time there are only three books which have earned the maximum of six starred reviews, one each from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Publisher's Weekly, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Horn Book, and School Library Journal. The three books with these six starred reviews are The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge; Thunder Boy, Jr. by Sherman Alexie; and this book, Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill. The Lie Tree is clearly aimed at the young adult audience and the other two books look like picture books so their target audience of readers would be a younger age. Until today I didn't really consider this book while on the hunt for the Printz Award then I reread the target audience, Grade 5-8, age 10-12 up. Hmm. Maybe, I decided, I should include it on my list since I adore it anyway. Here is the info on the book, published by Candlewick Press:
When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians’ mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer’s day. Francis Vallejo’s vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era. Includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author’s note, sources, a bibliography, and a foldout of Art Kane’s famous photograph.
Harlem1958, photo by Art Kane

It is so much fun to read the poems by Orgill and look at the darling illustrations by Francis Vallejo all based on the photograph and notes about the events of that day. I enjoyed every minute I spent with the book and know you will, too. This is my favorite type of book to read. One which sparks my imagination AND offers me new information which sparks my curiosity.
Sample page from the book Jazz Day, this illustration is based on one of the many photographs taken that day.
Do I think this book will really win the Printz Award? It could, but it is more likely it will receive the Caldecott or the Newbery Award. I am guessing it will win something, though! Wait and see.

Rating: 5 stars.
Source: Print copy borrowed from the public library.

2017 Printz Award Contenders

25 / 35 books. 72% done!


  1. Very cool! It will definitely win something - doubtful that it will be the Printz though.

  2. Glad you enjoyed this one. I also picked it up because of the starred reviews.

  3. Thank you so much for taking a look at my book and saying such positive things. It was a joy to write. Sincerely, Roxane Orgill

    1. I had never even heard about the photograph until I read your book. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Keep up the good work!


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