Academic journal article Journal of Children's Literature

Enchanting Encores: The Continued Legacy of Picturebooks and the Arts

Academic journal article Journal of Children's Literature

Enchanting Encores: The Continued Legacy of Picturebooks and the Arts

Article excerpt

This review column offers an encore of high-quality, creative picturebooks focused on the arts that have been published since our fall 2013 column.

EVER SINCE WE HIT the Send button to the Journal of Children's Literature editors for our first column in 2013, it has been our privilege to explore the plethora of recently published picturebooks that celebrate the arts. We have joyously learned how different artistic modalities can be used to express and enrich life. We have humbly recognized how many artists and stories have yet to be shared (until now), and we have eagerly envisioned the myriad ways these books may inspire youths to (re)envision the world-past, present, and future-while considering what they might contribute to society. We have also celebrated the books focused on legendary artists that have won significant awards and honors, such as Firebird by Misty Copeland (2014), Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell (2014), Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales (2014), and The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock (2014).

Despite the award-winning books featuring female artists, we continue to lament what appears to be a persistent narrative of the White, European male artist; an overemphasis on African American artists set in historical settings; and limited authentic cultural representations of the arts.

We also continue to feel the pang of loss when selecting one book over another because of book release dates and column space. These previously cut or recently released books have become our unofficial literary understudies. Thus, this column is a celebration of the ongoing publication of children's picturebooks accentuating the arts and the role of the arts in societal development and expression. It is our literary encore and, as such, will explicitly connect with our previous columns while offering additional opportunities for inspiration and critical reflection. We have continued to organize the column in the following ways:

* Four organizational categories highlighting overarching themes within the books

* A legend of symbols offering additional information about all of the books (See Table 1.)

* A list of additional "literary understudies" (See Table 2.)

We hope this column, in concert with our previous columns, enables educators to create high-quality, culturally diverse text sets that privilege what often gets sidelined or goes missing in classrooms and curricula in an era of high-stakes accountability.

Musical Maestros: Fostering Dynamic Collaborations

As an extension of our fall 2013 column on jazz innovation, this set of books explores the lives of singers and musicians whose art was and/or continues to be inspired by their peers, predecessors, and communities.

Bird & Diz

Golio, G. (2015). (E. Young, Illus.). Somerville, MA: Candlewick, unpaged.

* B

In this beautiful double-sided, accordion-folded book, Ed Young's continuous narrative illustration, made with pastels, gouache, and sumi ink, is like riding a roller coaster with surprises and bursts of movement around each fold of the paper. It reflects the revolutionary quality of bebop jazz music that friends Charlie "Bird" Parker (saxophone) and John "Dizzy" Gillespie (trumpet) helped define in the 1940s with songs such as "Salt Peanuts," "Hot House," and "Leap Frog." Golio's present-tense verse suggests that Bird and Diz "play together just like kids... / They take turns, / tossing notes back and forth. / playing with sound and speed, no limits / pushing each other to make a new kind of music / Bebop-fast jazz. ." With an afterword that encourages readers to listen to Bird and Diz's recordings and to "take out your crayons and draw," this book is an example of how collaboration and innovation can push the boundaries of what we know.

Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments

Jiang, E. …

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