Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
The Cosmo Biography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy is Enlightening

The Cosmo Biography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy is Enlightening

Spring 2014 Non-Fiction
Ages: 6 - 9 yrs.
Author: Chris Raschka
Illustrator: Chris Raschka
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763658069
Hardcover Price: $15.99

"Sun Ra always said he came from Saturn. Now, you know and I know that this is silly. No one comes from Saturn. And yet…." The unexpected and compelling subject of Caldecott Award-winner Chris Raschka's new book, experimental jazz musician Sun Ra, was born Herman P. Blount in 1914 Alabama, but claimed to be of extraterrestrial origins. Raschka's empathic, pitch-perfect text and stunning acrylic-and-ink paintings evoke Sun Ra's time and place, personal challenges, idiosyncratic persona and unique musicality: Sun Ra and his Arkestra were too "far out" for many, but praised by such jazz giants as Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. (Raschka includes a list of the recordings to sample.) By the time Raschka gives Sun Ra the last word ("You may think that it is gravity that holds us all together but it is not—it is music"), this self-described Saturnian has become a moving and unforgettable presence.

Lynne Heffley   ©2014 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper's first weekly children's arts and entertainment beat.

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