Rhyming text celebrates the Harlem neighborhood that successful African Americans first called home during the 1920s. Includes brief biographies of jazz greats Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis; artists Aaron Douglas and Faith Ringgold; entertainers Lena Horne and the Nicholas Brothers; writer Zora Neale Hurston; civil rights leader W. E. B. DuBois; and lawyer Thurgood Marshall.
The very short poems feature these famous people in lines like these:
“Where Robeson puts down roots a while
and Sonny Rollins hangs with Miles.”
“Where DuBois outlines social tracts
and Thurgood Marshall plots legal attacks.”
No indication whatsoever is given about who these people are until an Author’s Note and “Who’s Who” at the end of the book, clearly intended for adults.
Illustrator R. Gregory Christie is the perfect choice for this story. His spare modernist art style tends to be “jazzy,” and here he mixes bright colors and interesting perspective work to create interest.
It would not be possible, however, to read this without an adult, and even many adults will be flipping back and forth to the “Who’s Who” to match the bios with the text.