Orgill, Roxane. Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph. Francis Vallejo, Illus. Poetry. Candlewick, 03/2016. 56pp. $18.99. 978-0-7636-6954-6. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 4-8.
This collection of 21 new original free-verse poems celebrates the landmark photograph of jazz greats, taken in Harlem for Esquire magazine in 1958. The author is better known for music biographies and non-fiction, but these poems have concise, lively rhythms and give both the factual information and emotions of the event. Some poems focus on an individual, such as Thelonious Monk or Maxine Sullivan, others describe the neighborhood children seen in the photo. The artwork combines pastel and pencil sketches with acrylic paint, clearly depicting the historical time period as well as the facial features of the well-known participants; the overall feel of the illustrations is that of a 1950s magazine advertisement. This could inspire a poetry month project where students write poems about famous photographs. The book includes the famous photo, a chart naming the participants seen in the picture, source notes, an in-depth list of related books and media, and half-page biographical sketches of 16 of the participants.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University, iSchool