Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Blues Journey (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards)) Hardcover – March 1, 2003
The 10 Most Valuable Children’s Books and Affordable Alternatives
Dust off those boxes, cross your fingers and pray you have one of these. Learn more on AbeBooks.com
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From School Library Journal
Grade 4 Up-"Blues- what you mean to me?/-Are you my pain and misery,/or my sweet, sweet company?" The opening verse of this latest father/son collaboration probes the very essence of a form-and a feeling; it asks the question that anyone who has sought solace in music can relate to. The pair's first composition wandered through a Harlem collage (Scholastic, 1997), depicting "-a call, a song- the mood indigo- a language of darkness-." This new duet is the blues: verbally and visually, it explores the idiom while exemplifying it. A call and response accompanies each painting. The poetry is given a variety of voices by the ever-changing cast and settings: three figures in a horse-drawn cart on a lonely road; two children sitting on a curb-one crying, the other comforting; workers in a chain gang; a brother and sister sharing a bed, head to toe. The tightly controlled, yet endlessly surprising palette consists of blue (ink), white (paint), and brown (paper bags). Many of the bodies and backgrounds are literally blue, with white highlights. This chilling effect is tempered by the warm texture of the brown bags. As the journey progresses, the lyrics and art look at loss through the lenses of slavery, poverty, lynching, love spurned, fear of dying-and of living. An author's note provides a lucid description of the history, elements, and importance of the blues. Symbolism is explored in a glossary. Artist and author push the idiom-and the picture book-to new dimensions. Their song will slide through readers' ears and settle into their souls.
Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5-8. The blues' deceptively simple rhyme scheme tracks the deeper feelings of lives that have been bruised. In this picture book for older readers, Myers offers blues-inspired verse that touches on the black-and-blue moments of individual lives. His son Christopher's images, which illustrate the call-and-response text, alternate between high spirited and haunting. Myers begins with a very necessary introduction to the history of the blues that includes an explanation of the rhyme scheme. Still, the level of sophistication necessary for kids to get into the book is considerable: "Strange fruit hanging, high in the big oak tree / Strange fruit hanging high in the big oak tree / You can see what it did to Willie, / and you see what it did to me." Myers' original verse is unsettling if young people know the reference from the Billie Holiday song, but unclear if they don't ("strange fruit" is defined in the glossary). The accompanying illustration, though it's one of the less inspired ones, helps clarify things--a boy walks in a crowd carrying a sign saying, "yesterday a man was lynched." But there's no cohesion between the spreads, and the next one features a blues singer at a mike: "The thrill is gone, but love is still in my heart . . . I can feel you in the music and it's tearing me apart." Much of Myers' poetry here is terrific, by turn, sweet, sharp, ironic, but it's the memorable collage artwork, executed in the bluest of blue ink and brown paper, that will draw readers first. Once inside the book, some children will immediately hear the songs the poetry sings; others will have to listen more closely. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
As the title indicates, the book is a journey, and the verses and images progress forward through the timeline of the blues, from the end of slavery through the beginning of the civil rights movement. The pictures also show the gradual movement from country to city, the black migration from South to North. The blues timeline is printed at the end of the book, along with a glossary of symbolic terms used in blues lyrics. This back matter, in addition to the opening author's note giving an explanation of the history and meaning of the blues, provide a necessary key to understanding the layers of meaning in the verses and accompanying illustrations.
Several of the spreads are visually breathtaking, evoking deep feelings of grief and sympathy. A man stands facing away from the viewer, knee-deep in a gorgeously painted blue ocean, holding onto a fishing net. The verse speaks of "casting my love out to the sea;" the illustration speaks powerfully of loneliness. Another spread depicts two young boys sitting on the curb, one with his face buried, turning away from the other child, who is holding his hand in comfort. The very adult look of concern and hopelessness on the boy's face is striking. Coupled with the verse, which says "despair will scrape the bone/ misery loves company, blues can live alone," the illustration speaks of abuse and misery visited upon children helpless to protect themselves; a similar illustration shows two children sleeping on the same mat, head to toe, by a verse that describes their poverty. One of the strongest images in the book is a furious boy at the back of a crowd holding up a sign that says YESTERDAY A MAN WAS LYNCHED, which explicates the accompanying verse ("Strange fruit hanging high in a big oak tree") and summons an image that, while shocking, is an important part of blues history.
"Blues Journey" is neither upbeat, nor easily accessible; it a sophisticated, layered work that expands with every re-reading. Perhaps it is not the sort of book a parent will take home to read to a toddler, but it has a great deal to offer older children; in particular, the book would be an invaluable classroom tool for the study of African-American history and blues music. The Myers have expanded the boundaries of what a picturebook can do. The combined effect of the text and art is to create a visual metaphor for the music of the blues, and a powerful evocation of the black experience.
A little background first. Written by young adult book god Walter Dean Myers, the author switches his focus from long prose to picture book form. Accompanied by Christopher Myers (an artist in the sense that what he draws drips into you) the two have concentrated on the blues. There's a fabulous author's note at the beginning explaining what the blues is and how it was born. From the call and response singing form, found on the continent of Africa, this type of music mixed with European English to create the final product, the blues. Myers puts it this way, "When art from two cultures comes together, the result is often an exciting new experience". He goes on to explain a couple terms and how the blues moved from the fields to the cities. Then the book begins.
I don't know enough about the blues personally to be able to tell if all the different lyrics found in this book can be individually assigned to a particular singer or situation, though I assume that this is the case. Likewise, I'm not certain if the illustrations in this book are based on photographs, but again, I assume so. After all, I recognized the reference to "strange fruit" one one page, and on another I remembered seeing the photo of the two boys sitting on the street curb, one turning his head away to sob. The book does something near impossible. It conveys misery without depressing. Reading through these stanzas, it's almost as if the book is one multi-veined blues song itself. The illustrations compliment this perfectly. The book is black and blue, brown and white. But mostly blue, to be honest. My favorite two-page spread features women hanging their sheets to dry on one page, and a woman reaching towards a flying blackbird on another. I could sit and stare at these pages for hours, if I had a mind to.
The books ends with a timeline of significant moments in the blues as well as a glossary of terms. Y'know, there are hundreds of books out there today about jazz and the importance of the jazz musicians. Why have the blues been so ignored? I can only assume because jazz is the easier subject to write about. Writing about blues, you're in danger of only showing the depressing aspects of the genre, and not the art. It takes an artist to convey this particular form well. We are fortunate that not one, but two artists took it upon themselves to do just that. This is the book that took my breath away.
take a look at the cover. It says it all - the scariness, the
unutterable sadness, the awfulness of the slavery & then the segregation in the South from which the Blues developed.