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The Deaf Musicians
     

The Deaf Musicians

by Pete Seeger, Paul Dubois Jacobs, R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator)
 

Poor Lee! He used to be a jazzman who could make the piano go yimbatimba- TANG—zang-zang. But now he's lost his hearing, and the bandleader had to let him go.

So Lee goes to a school for the deaf to learn sign language. There, he meets Max, who used to play the sax. Riding the subway to class, they start signing about all the songs they love. A bass player

Overview

Poor Lee! He used to be a jazzman who could make the piano go yimbatimba- TANG—zang-zang. But now he's lost his hearing, and the bandleader had to let him go.

So Lee goes to a school for the deaf to learn sign language. There, he meets Max, who used to play the sax. Riding the subway to class, they start signing about all the songs they love. A bass player named Rose joins in and soon they've got a little sign language band. And in no time they're performing for audiences in the subway, night after night.

Living legend and Kennedy Center honoree Pete Seeger, renowned poet Paul DuBois Jacobs, and Coretta Scott King honor winner R. Gregory Christie present a jazzy riff on the power of music, overcoming obstacles, and all the different ways to hear the world. So, who will listen to a deaf musician? Everyone!

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Janet L. Rose
Lee loses his hearing and, therefore, loses his job playing piano in a band, but Lee meets Max, who is also deaf and plays the sax. Together they play music with their hands as they ride the subway. A woman sees them and joins in by playing an upright bass. The three deaf people recruit an interpreter to be their singer and people on the subway start to watch and move in rhythm. Regardless of the medium, whether deaf or hearing, on key or off, Pete Seeger, who often performed while interpreters signed his songs, said that "The real music is in people joining together." He loved to hear people sing along during his concerts. The story is a lesson in acceptance and joy and working together. It is also about pursuing your dreams regardless of what other people think. The story could start a unit on deafness, sign language, coping with life changes, and communicating through the universal language of music.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Jazz! It's all about the rhythm and the sounds, musicians in conversation answering each other with notes and riffs instead of words. But what happens when one member of the band can't hear the notes anymore? Through this rhythmic story, readers meet Lee, who loses his hearing and is asked to leave his band. Luckily, he discovers a whole new world of music that exists in the mind and heart at a local school for the deaf. Christie's snazzy style matches perfectly with the book's vivacity. The expressive faces and bold use of color make the story sing. This is a great read-aloud that begs for enthusiastic performance and audience participation. Both uplifting and inclusive, it is a celebration of music and resilience.-Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After losing his hearing, a piano man finds new musical life. Lee plays piano with a combo at a jazz club. One night, his bandmates notice that he's not hearing their notes; he's afraid to admit that he's losing his hearing. Eventually, the combo has to let him go. On the subway, Lee spots an ad for a school for the deaf. It's a very cool place, and he finds he loves sign language. He and his new friends from the school have jam sessions, using sign language instead of instruments. They practice regularly; when they add a singer named Ellie, they've got a hot new combo that entertains commuters in the subway station. Lee's happy again, as a deaf musician. Seeger and Jacobs' hep narrative is studded with phonic gems ("Bomp," "Phip," "Doodle-bop-bop"), and Christie's colorful paintings have a strong 1950s feel. An unusual story, both stylish and uplifting. (author note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399243165
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
10/05/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.40(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Pete Seeger was always a storyteller and put together many songs, including “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and, with Lee Hays, “If I Had a Hammer.” He is also the author of the classic picture book Abiyoyo.

Paul DuBois Jacobs
has previously collaborated with Pete Seeger on Abiyoyo Returns and Some Friends to Feed, both illustrated by Michael Hays. Paul lives in New York with his wife, Jennifer Swender, and together they wrote the picture book My Subway Ride.

R. Gregory Christie
is the three-time Coretta Scott King Honor-winning illustrator of Brothers in Hope, Only Passing Through, and The Palm of My Heart. Among his other acclaimed picture books are Richard Wright and the Library Card by William Miller and Hot City by Barbara Joosse. Visit him at www.gas-art.com.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
May 3, 1919
Date of Death:
January 27, 2014
Place of Birth:
Patterson, NY
Place of Death:
New York City, NY

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