Jon McGoran
Jon McGoran talks about his new book, Spliced.

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Just a Lucky So and So
The Story of Louis Armstrong
by Lesa Cline-Ransome
James E. Ransome, Illustrator

Reinforced | 40 pages | 9 x 11 | US$ 16.95
ISBN: 9780823434282 | 02-27-2016

Also available as an ebook.

Grade: THIRD | Age: 6 to 10

Themes: Historical Fiction, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Human & Civil Rights, Music, Song & Theater
Recommendations: K, SLJ, A

CCSS Codes:
RF.4.3, 3a, 4, 4a, 4c
L.4.3, 4, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6
RI.4.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10
SL.4.1, 1c, 1d, 2, 3, 4, 5
W.4.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9b, 10

About the Book

Just a Lucky So and So is a joyful tribute to the virtuoso musician.

Louis Armstrong has been called the most important jazz improviser in the history of jazz. Although his New Orleans neighborhood was poor in nearly everything else, it was rich in superb music. Young Louis took it all in, especially the cornet blowing of Joe "King" Oliver. But after a run in with the police, 11-year-old Louis was sent away to the Colored Waif's Home for Boys where he became a disciplined musician in the school's revered marching band. By the time he returned to his neighborhood, the "King" himself became his mentor and invited Armstrong to play with him in Chicago.


"A solid choice for school libraries and collections looking to freshen up biography collections for school-age readers."—School Library Journal

"Upbeat and celebratory—like Pops himself."—Kirkus Reviews

Classroom Discussion Questions with CCSS:

1. How was Louis Armstrong poor and rich at the same time? Use words and phrases from the story to explain. RI.4-5.1, 2

2. What is the crisis in the story? What decisions does Louis Armstrong make that will alter his life? RI.4-5.1, 3

3. How did Louis Armstrong make his boyhood dream come true? Was he “just a lucky so and so?” W.4-5.9

4. What can you personally learn from his story? SL.4-5.4

Educators' Guide
JUST A LUCKY SO AND SO: The Story of Louis Armstrong
Discussion and Activity Guide explores this joyful tribute to the virtuoso musician and buoyant personality who introduced much of the world to jazz.