One of the things that I love about finding new non-fiction picture books is that they often feature topics that I didn't even know I wanted to learn about. That's exactly what happened with Sweethearts of Rhythm, the story of the greatest all-girl swing band in the world. It's a mixture of history, culture, race, sex, and music. The story unfolds through poems that centre around the instruments in the band. It took a few poems to get used to how the book was going to work, but I liked how the poems could capture a snippet of a moment, a fragment of a story. I just kind of let the words wash over me as I experienced the book; I definitely think that it's a book I could return to again and get more out of. I really appreciated that there were materials at the end that helped to explain the band in terms of history, geography, and where America was at the time, and I would love for someone else to pick up this story and write it as a straight-up non-fiction book, and then they could serve as great companion pieces.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Almost Astronauts by Tanya Lee Stone
Claudette Colvin by Phillip Hoose
The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phalen