Before John Was a Jazz Giant
A Song of John Coltrane
Author: Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrations by Sean Qualls
A lyrical picture book biography of John Coltrane that focuses on his childhood.
Young John Coltrane was all ears. And there was a lot to hear, growing up in the south during the 1930s: church songs, preachers praying, music on the radio, and the bustling of the household. John was surrounded by all kinds of vivid noises that shaped his own sound as a musician. With vibrant words and glowing colors, Carole Boston Weatherford and Sean Qualls compose an amazingly rich hymn to the childhood of jazz legend John Coltrane.
Before John Was a Jazz Giant is a 2009 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book and a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
In The News
“Weatherford's evocative poem traces Coltrane's influences simply and stunningly. Qualls's muted palette of rich hues suggests the smoky jazz moods he would create.” —School Library Journal
“Even children who are unfamiliar with jazz in general and John Coltrane in particular may find their interest piqued.” —Horn Book
“Will echo with contemporary children, who will recognize the music in their daily lives.” —Booklist
“This is as much a subtle invitation for children to listen to their own worlds as it is a Coltrane biography.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books