BOOK REVIEWS

The Blues Singers: Ten Who Rocked the World Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-07-17 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:0786804637
LANGUAGE:English

" Got it for my kids, but read it myself and learned a lot! " said.

" A brief introduction to some of the blues greats. I'm ready to introduce my students to some culture and treat them to some new music. " said.

" Julius Lester writes like he's telling you a story. I love reading his books aloud. " said.

" Short biographies on the ten most influential blues singers. This book takes you back to the very beginning with Bessie Smith and Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Ray Charles, and Aretha Franklin. Julius Lester provides a recommended listening list and bibliography. " said.

" As an adult, I found this to be a fascinating read. There were several artists that I never heard of and some favorites that there were little known tidbits I found out about them. Def. my favorite JL book to date. Loved the abstract art throughout the book, but that seems to be his signature. " said.

"Another excellent work by Julius Lester. He narrates the story as if he were telling stories to his grandchild. Thus, there is a personal and rather intimate feel to this book. In it, Lester introduces the reader to 10 of the world's best and most influential blues singers in history. The illustrations by Lisa Cohen are also excellent and complements Lester's words very well. The end result is a book that is personal, engaging, and sharp that readers will enjoy.

I think this book can be introduced to upper middle, middle, and high school students. The words are not too complex and, as usual, Lester uses simple words that get straight to the point rather than flowery imagery.
" said.

"Summary
This book is of a grandfather talking to his granddaughter about ten of the greatest blues artist and artist that affected the blues industry. When his granddaughter would visit in the summer, he would tell his granddaughter stories about different people in history. This one particular summer he wanted to introduce her to blues singers. In each chapter he talks about the struggles and successes in the lives of blues greats Bessie Smith (“the Empress of the Blues”), Robert Johnson (“the King of the Delta Blues Singers”), Mahalia Jackson, Muddy Waters (born McKinley Morganfield) Billie Holiday, (“Lady Day”), B.B. King (born Riley B. King), Ray Charles (born Ray Charles Robinson), Little Richard (born Richard Wayne Penniman), James Brown, and Aretha Franklin. The childlike bright paintings appeal to the senses of children giving them a feeling of who theses artist are/were.

Response
This book reminded me of my childhood. When I was in elementary school we were introduced to different types of music, instruments and artist. We were all taught how to play different instruments, taking turns with each instrument for about a week or so. I artist we learned about that I remember was Mahalia Jackson. I remember her because I had the opportunity to meet her a couple of times, at a church and in the home of some of her relatives.

Classroom Connection
After reading the book to the class I would connect this book to a research and writing assignment. I would have students research other great blues artist whose life was not detailed in the book. I would have them write about artist such as Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Junior Lockwood, Etta James, Ma Rainey, and Koko Taylor. They will detail the artist birth date, childhood, how they developed and interest in music, when they started in music, first recordings, and all awards and accomplishment.

Text Complexity
This book is a 1040L Lexile measure with a Guided Reading level T. There is an interest level of Grades PreK – 3 and DRA level of 50. Students should be able to read this book by themselves during the beginning of 5th Grade.
" said.

" Got it for my kids, but read it myself and learned a lot! " said.

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