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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Rhythm Ride

A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound

Andrea Davis Pinkney

Roaring Brook Press




I've got my pulse on all the roads. And side streets. And avenues. And alleyways.

You see, I steer the beat. That's why they call me the Groove.

Because my uh-huh keeps us pumping on the way. So-uh-huh, I'm the one driving this Rhythm Ride. Make no mistake, kid. I'm not a man or a woman. I'm a guide. A tempo that keeps us on track.

Hey, put that road map away. We don't need it. I know this highway. I'm clear on where I'm going-and I sure know where I've been. When you've lasted as long as I have, you learn that yesterday sets the path to today. Our past shows us where we've come from and where we're heading. The truth of it is, the Groove has been at the wheel for the whole time. That's why nobody can run me off the road. I'm here to stay. And now, I'd like to takeyou on a drive.

Yeah, you. Sitting pretty. Taking in the whole view from your window.

Make sure you stay alert, 'cause this Rhythm Ride is a trip-and a story about cars and stars, and a sound. It's the journey of one man's dream. That man, Berry Gordy, Jr., was an unstoppable originator. This is the true tale of how he took kids from the street and turned them into celebrities. Our drive follows Berry's vision-come-to-life. Honey, you're about to see how Berry's company put pride on the flip side of prejudice, and came to be called the Sound of Young America.

As we get ready to roll, you need to know something about the Groove. I'm blacker than midnight. And proud ofit.

I've been pumped, sung, shunned, loved, let loose, danced to, segregated, and celebrated. I've driven to the beat and through it.

I've been called some names, too. Some good names-"praise tempo" and "heart-and-soul harmony."

And other names that put some painful scratches on my shiny black vinyl-names like "race music" and "darkie sounds."

Yeah, I've seen good days and bad.




But I'm tough. I've got grit, deep down. I don't ever give up. I've stood the test of time.

Sweetie, before we get started, I need to warn you. There are happy places along this road and sad ones, too. Every time I take a kid on this ride, they come home changed. Different. Rhythm has a way of doing that. It stirs you up, then sets you down on higher ground.

You think you can handle it? Good.

Stick with the Groove.

Here we go.

On a Rhythm Ride.

To a place.

Called Motown.

Text copyright © 2015 by Andrea Davis Pinkney