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Roxie Munro talks about her new book, Rodent Rascals.

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Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson
Taking the Stage as the First Black-and-White Jazz Band in History
by Lesa Cline-Ransome
James E. Ransome, Illustrator

Reinforced | 32 pages | 11 x 9 | US$ 16.95
ISBN: 9780823423620 | 01-01-2014

Also available as an ebook.

Grade: FOURTH | Age: 8 to 12

Themes: Biography, African American Interest, 20th Century, Music, Song & Theater, Poetry
Recommendations: A, C, H, K, LMC*, PW, SLJ

CCSS Codes:
3: RL. 1, 3, 5
4-5: RL. 2, 3, 5

About the Book
Expressive poetry honors the first widely seen integrated jazz performance: the debut of the Benny Goodman quartet with Teddy Wilson in Chicago in 1936.

It wasn't soft
It wasn't black
It wasn't sweet
It wasn't white
It was swing

Brought together by the love of playing jazz music, Teddy Wilson and Benny Goodman broke the color barrier in entertainment when they formed the Benny Goodman Trio with Gene Krupa.

This lush and lyrical picture book tells the story of how two musical prodigies from very different backgrounds—one a young black boy growing up in Tuskegee, Alabama, the other the son of struggling Russian-Jewish immigrants from the West Side of Chicago—were brought together by their love of music, and helped create the jazz style known as swing.

Written in exuberant verse paired with vibrant watercolor paintings, this expressive story explodes off the pages. Nonfiction back matter detailing the events that led to the groundbreaking performance is included, making this an exceptional resource for educators and students.


Click for an in-depth interview with the author and illustrator.


“A solid exploration of a resonant musical partnership at a historically significant moment in American music.”"—Kirkus Reviews

“The lyrical prose infuses the book with the spirit of jazz. . . . The illustrations are realistic and . . . seem to blur together at times and swing like the music that Teddy and Benny play.”"—School Library Journal

Educators' Guide
BENNY GOODMAN AND TEDDY WILSON: Taking the Stage as the First Black-and-White Jazz Band in History
Educators' Guide featuring questions for classroom discussion and suggestions for further exploration.