Kenya's Song

Kenya's Song

by Linda Trice, Pamela Johnson
     
 

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Kenya’s homework is to pick her favorite song and share it with her class. Sounds simple, but for Kenya, it’s anything but. With all that beautiful music in the world, how can she possibly choose? Her family and friends try to help by offering their favorite songs as choices, but it’s no help to Kenya. While those around her have made some great

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Overview

Kenya’s homework is to pick her favorite song and share it with her class. Sounds simple, but for Kenya, it’s anything but. With all that beautiful music in the world, how can she possibly choose? Her family and friends try to help by offering their favorite songs as choices, but it’s no help to Kenya. While those around her have made some great suggestions, Kenya has a hard time calling any one of them her favorite.

For inspiration, Kenya accompanies her father to the Caribbean Cultural Center where he plays music. Kenya hears music from Cuba and Trinidad, Haiti and Puerto Rico. She hears music in all different languages—French, English, Spanish. But still, Kenya can’t decide which song she likes best. Finally, Kenya makes her decision—one that will surprise readers while inspiring them to listen to the world around them.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sarah Strom
Protagonist Kenya receives an assignment to tell the class her favorite song. The problem is that when there are so many wonderful types of music in the world, how can she pick just one? She goes to work with her father the next day to the Caribbean Cultural Center, where she listens to all types of music from different places. She plays the steel drums from Trinidad, learns the merengue from the Dominican Republic, and plays the maracas from Puerto Rico. She listens to songs in English, Spanish, and French. Finally, on the walk home with her father, she decides she will create a song of her own that incorporates elements of everything she loves. The beautiful watercolor pictures that fill the pages of this book will undoubtedly draw in children. Each illustration takes readers through the influences of Kenya’s song. Included in the back of the book is a map of the Caribbean. This would be a great introduction to a unit of study on the different music and instruments of the Caribbean Islands. However, it should be accompanied by a more in-depth study of the islands because this book barely scratches the surface. To fully inform the reader of these different types of music, dances, and instruments, more resources should be provided. Reviewer: Sarah Strom; Ages 4 to 8.
Kirkus Reviews
Kenya's homework assignment is to share her favorite song with her class. Can she find the perfect one? A family full of music and laughter tries to help young Kenya find a song to share with her classmates. Her father takes her to the Caribbean Cultural Center, where rooms are dedicated to different countries. Kenya visits rooms filled with the music of Trinidad, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, yet she still cannot choose a favorite song. What will she present to her classroom? A follow-up to Kenya's Word (2006), this book cannot quite decide its focus. Readers learn the names of musical genres, instruments and the Caribbean nations represented in Kenya's neighborhood. The illustrations are adequate but provide scarce clues to each culture aside from brief references to dances or instruments. The musical theme for the story is obvious, yet it is missing melodic words or a rhythmic cadence to the lengthy text. Kenya's family, however, proves to be helpful, talented and full of joyful music, surprising her classmates with a new song. While this provides a glimpse of a loving family living in a multicultural neighborhood, it misses the mark to truly celebrate Caribbean music and diversity. (Picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Though Kenya comes from a musical family, she is having trouble with her homework assignment-choosing her favorite song. Her daddy, who plays jazz piano, takes her to the Caribbean Cultural Center, where she hears songs in several languages, dances the merengue, and makes maracas. Walking home through the park, their feet keep time, and they make up words to match the marching-band beat. She asks for her dad's help in writing an original song. The next Monday, the students in Mrs. Garcia's class share music and dances from their homelands. When her turn comes, with her daddy on the piano, her classmates sing along, and Kenya sings, "English, French, Spanish, too-/Music's how I speak to you!/Doesn't matter where you're from-/Just sing your song and play your drum!" The illustrations, done in colored pencils and watercolor, show talented young people proud of their heritage and willing to share it with others. The final illustration is a chalkboard map of the Caribbean islands, showing how much diversity exists in places so close together. Teachers and librarians will want to share recordings of the various types of music, and some lucky listeners may have hands-on experiences with maracas, bongos, and other rhythm instruments. Kenya's appreciation for the music around her and her loving relationship with her father make this an appealing story for most libraries.—Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570918469
Publisher:
Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
02/01/2013
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,428,919
Product dimensions:
11.20(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD520L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Linda Trice is an author, professor, and professional speaker. Her books include KENYA'S WORD and CHARLES DREW: PIONEER OF BLOOD PLASMA. Linda lives in the Bronx, New York.

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