Thursday, August 03, 2006


STOMPIN' AT THE SAVOY: THE STORY OF NORMA MILLER edited by Alan Govenar, illustrated by Martin French (Candlewick)
How would you like to sit across the kitchen table and chat with a real live Lindy Hop originator from the Harlem Renaissance? This book is your chance! Let the genuine voice of a headline dancer at the Savoy Ballroom sweep you away. Told in norma Miller's own voice, this unusual, conversational, short-and-sweet biography chronicles the swing dancer's life from rough Harlem beginnings in the days of Jim Crow to a fifteen year old's palpable thrill at boarding a steamship for France.
Kinetic illustrations practically hold out a hand, inviting us readers to dance along. (8 and up)

Also of interest:
LEON'S STORY by Leon Walter Tillage, illustrated by Susan L. Roth (Farrar Straus Giroux) comes to mind because it also has that rare unpretentious storytelling quality that brings history to life. Based on an interview with school custodian, I consider this account one of the most affecting books about civil rights in America. I love to read-aloud chapters to upper-graders, they are moved by Leon's bravery and dignity in the face of reconstruction's painful shortfalls. It also will help us all look at people not for what they do, but who they are inside; truly, this little gem is an embodied manifestation of Dr. King's hope for "the content of our character." Please treat yourself and future generations! (9 and up)

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