Saturday, October 1, 2011
rhythm, rhyme, and "harmony"
I must admit that I was unfamiliar with the song which is the basis for this picture book, WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? by George Ella Lyon with illustrations by Christopher Cardinale (Cinco Puntos 2011). Now, on its 80th anniversary, we learn of the origins of this song about unions penned by the wife of a coal worker who was being hunted down because he dared tried to join a union for better working conditions. never has this book seemed more timely since then, I imagine, in this day when others seek to ban unions that protect workers. The illustrations capture perfectly the tenor of the story behind this song. Words and music are included on the back cover. There is also an appendix with author notes. <500>
Since music seems to be important, it seemed logical to tie this book in here. DUKE ELLINGTON'S NUTCRACKER SUITE by Anna Harwell Celenza with illustrations by Don Tate (Charlesbridge 2011) again recounts a story unknown to me. Ellington and his collaborator Billy Strayhorn composed a jazz variation on the Nutcracker Suite. A CD includes a recording of this incredible piece. I played it in the background as I was reading the book for a total reading/listening experience. Music teachers would find this not only interesting but perhaps a sort of mentor text as well. <501>