Friday, April 4, 2008

The Power of Music

In our house the oldies station plays throughout the day. Our kids seem to move around much more harmoniously when it's on. Not only does it get the kids dancing and the baby bopping up and down to the rhythm, it's also educational.... as I've found that my son has learned all the lyrics to his new favorite, "Me and Julio." We always keep instruments in reach too. There is a kazoo, tambourine, shaker and mini microphone to play along with. It makes a fun family activity. As the great saying goes, "The family that plays together stays together."

When we first read The Deaf Musicians, my son didn't know what "deaf" meant. It's the story about a jazz piano man named Lee who loses his hearing and is let go from the band by the bandleader. He goes to a school for the deaf to learn sign language. There he meets Max who used to play sax. A bass player named Rose and singer/ sign language interpreter, Ellie join them. Soon they have a sign language band that performs in the subway every night. And Lee, who once thought his jazz life was over, finds himself playing for audiences larger than ever before.

Pete Seeger, the author, has always been a great storyteller and has put together so many hit songs, including "Where Have All The Flowers Gone," "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "If I Had A Hammer" with Lee Hays. I never knew Pete had so many childrens books published besides the very popular "Abiyoyo."

He has collaborated with reknowned poet Paul Dubois Jacobs as well as on "Abiyoyo Returns" and 2 others.

Brooklyn artist, R. Gregory Christie is a Three-time Coretta Scott King Honor award winner. His work should be familiar as it has graced numerous jazz albums, historical biographies and New Yorker magazines. His art is available to purchase on his site.

"The Deaf Musicians"(2007 winner of the ALA Schneider Family Book Award) is a about the power of music, overcoming obstacles and all the different ways to hear the world. Now my son has a greater understanding of the word "deaf."

So,"Who will listen to a deaf musician?"


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