Written by Troy Andrews
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
Harry N. Abrams Books for Young Readers; 2015, Hardcover
Target Audience: Ages 5-9
Theme: Having a dream, Persistence, Overcoming obstacles
How We Discovered This Book: I requested several books from our library from this year’s ALA Awards list. This is a Caldecott Honor Book and the winner of the Coretta Scott King Award.
Summary: A young boy growing up in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans doesn’t have money to buy an instrument, but he loved music. He and his friends made instruments out of whatever they could find. One day, he found an old trombone, and taught himself to play. He became known as “Trombone Shorty” because the trombone was twice his size. He played throughout his neighborhood, with his own kid band, and one day was pulled from the crowd at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival to play with Bo Diddley.
What I Liked: I’m on record as not being a big fan of non-fiction books, but this kind of interesting storytelling and visual imagery is winning me over. This is a true story, written by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews himself. It is inspirational, demonstrates the hard work he put into his craft, and all of the influences on him including his town and his mother. The illustrations are creative – a combination of paintings and photographs. The illustrator uses an interesting method of overlaying faded sections to draw attention to the main focus of each panel – usually Trombone Shorty.
What Did My Kids Think? They enjoyed his story, and wanted me to read all the way through the author’s notes. We even went on YouTube to hear some of his music (see below).
Make your own instruments at home!
Watch Trombone Shorty in action with his band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.
Learn more about the Trombone Shorty Foundation, and its work to promote music to the next generation, especially those in New Orleans.