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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Frank Morrison, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 9 of 9
1. Time to Get Back into the Rhythm!

I just arrived in the Santa Cruz Mountains for a weeklong writing retreat at the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods. The grounds are gorgeous...and so peaceful...and I am just settling into my room and thinking of some goals for the week. One of my goals, of course, is to get some blog posts out!

The hustle and bustle of life really does take a toll on you (or at least it does on me), so I am so looking forward to the solitude I'm going to have this week. I've already cleared my regular work calendar and am going to spend the ENTIRE week focused on children's writing. I am excited to get back into the rhythm of writing and creating! And speaking of rhythm....

I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison and illustrator Frank Morrison has been on my "to blog about" list for far too long. Finally I am here to tell you about it! And a much belated thank you to the publisher, Bloomsbury, for sending me a review copy.

The very simple text and exuberant illustrations in this book show readers that rhythm is everywhere -- if you just keep your eyes open. Musicians have rhythm in the way they play their instruments. Butterflies have rhythm in the way they flap their wings. Even street vendors have rhythm in the way they pass out food. And, as the main character in I Got the Rhythm finds out, once you find the rhythm, there are many ways to keep it going! 

I looked at the rhythm with my eyes. BLINK BLINK
I smelled the rhythm with my nose. SNIFF SNIFF 
I sang the rhythm with my mouth. OOH LA LA

The main character also uses her hands, fingers, hips, knees, and feet to keep the rhythm going as she takes a walk through the city with her mom. By the end of the book, her whole body is involved, and she is dancing up a storm!

If I find the rhythm again this week at my retreat, I hope I can keep it going, too. Let me know if you have any other good ideas for "getting back into the rhythm" or "keeping it going" once you find it...whether it's to do with writing, dancing, or another activity you love!

0 Comments on Time to Get Back into the Rhythm! as of 1/1/1900
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2. Monthly Book List: Our Favorite Books this June

Are you looking for a giggle-filled bedtime story? A book about friendship and the summer Olympics? You’ll find that and so much more in our favorite books this month…

Teach kids to coding this summer with a fun story, learn about the history of jazz musicians in the 1950s or turn through the pages of a historical action book. Read on to find out more about of June favorites.

For Pre-K –K (Ages 3-6):

good night owlGood Night Owl – written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

This funny and charming read aloud makes a perfect, funny read for bedtime or anytime! Kids will enjoy searching for the mouse on every page and laughing as owl attempts to find the source of the squeak that’s keeping him awake. We love it!

For 1st and 2nd Grade (Ages 6-8):

quickest kid in clarksvilleThe Quickest Kid in Clarksville – written by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Frank Morrison

In this lively picture book about friendship, competition, and perseverance, two girls take inspiration from the same hero – Olympic athlete Wilma Rudolph. This is a great book to read in the lead-up to the summer Olympics! Pair it with the nonfiction book Wilma Unlimited if you want to extend your students’ learning.


For 3rd & 4th grade (Ages 8-10):

secret codersSecret Coders – written and illustrated by Gene Luen Yang

Comics + coding = this awesome book. Kids will dive easily into the plot of this clever graphic novel, learning the basics of coding and programming along the way. It’s the first book in terrific new series from award-winning author Gene Luen Yang who was a long-time computer science teacher. He knows just how to teach a complex subject in a fun and accessible way.


For 5th and 6th Grade (Ages 10-12):

jazz dayJazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph – written by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Francis Vallejo

Nonfiction and poetry merge in this fantastic new book that was just awarded the Boston Globe Horn Book Award! Gorgeous illustrations mingle with rich poems focused on a summer day in 1958, when more than 50 great Jazz musicians came together in Harlem for a photo that would become world-famous. Each poem reveals a bit about the musicians, their music, and a key era in our nation’s history.  Truly beautiful!


Grades 7 & up (Ages 13+):

samurai risingSamurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune – written by Pamela S. Turner, illustrated Gareth Hinds

Action, adventure, and fascinating facts fill the pages of this gripping nonfiction book that will appeal to anyone with an interest in history, war, or the ancient world. Pam Turner’s writing keeps the tone light and the plot racing. We couldn’t put it down!


The post Monthly Book List: Our Favorite Books this June appeared first on First Book Blog.

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3. International Jazz Day: Seven Books that Celebrate Jazz

Music transcends language and culture, letting its listeners be united by something beyond words. That is why UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) designated April 30th to be International Jazz Day. This day serves to highlight jazz’s “diplomatic role in uniting people in all corners of the globe.”

Celebrate International Jazz Day with these seven books about Jazz from LEE & LOW BOOKS: 

Jazz collection (2)

Rent Party Jazz, written by William Miller and illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb – Sonny Comeaux has to work in order to help his mother make ends meet. Mama loses her job, and Sonny is worried: How will they make the rent? A jazz musician named Smilin’ Jack helps Sonny have the world’s best party, and raise the rent money in the process. Buy here.

i see the rhythm, written by Toyomi Igus and illustrated by Michele Wood – This book is a visual and poetic introduction to the history of African American music, including Jazz music. Buy here.

Jazz Baby, written by Carole Boston and illustrated by Laura Freeman – This book is a celebration of music and movement. This story in verse is inspired by the riffs, rhythms, and freedom of jazz. Buy here.

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, written by Katheryn Russell-Brown and illustrated by Frank Morrison – This award-winning biography follows the life of legendary jazz trombonist, composer, and arranger Melba Liston. At the age of 7, Melba fell in love with the trombone. Later, she broke racial and gender barriers tobecome a famed trombone player and arranger, spinning rhythms, harmonies, and melodies into gorgeous songs for all the jazz greats of the twentieth century: Randy Weston, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and Quincy Jones, to name just a few. Buy here.

Sweet Music in Harlem, written by Debbie Taylor and illustrated by Frank Morrison – C.J. needs to act fast. A photographer from Highnote magazine is on his way to take a picture of his Uncle Click, a well-known jazz musician. But Uncle Click’s signature hat is missing! C.J. must find it before the photo shoot. Buy here.

Rainbow Joe and Me, by Maria Diaz Strom – Eloise likes colors and so does her friend, Rainbow Joe. Since Rainbow Joe is blind, Eloise tells him about the colors she mixes and the fantastic animals she paints. Rainbow Joe tells Eloise that he can also mix and paint colors. Buy here.

Ray Charles, written by Sharon Bell Mathis and illustrated by George Ford – This award-winning biography follows the life of world-renowned jazz and blues musician Ray Charles. It includes a new introduction by author Sharon Bell Mathis and updates his life to the present day. Buy here.

Purchase the collection here.

Further Reading:

The Little Melba Playlist: A Jazz Music Primer from Frank Morrison

Celebrate Music in Our Schools Month with Drum-Inspired Books

Interview: Katheryn Russell-Brown on the research behind Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

Illustrator Frank Morrison takes us behind the art of Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

Book and Activity Suggestions to Match Your Summer Adventure: Outdoor Concerts!

Video Thursday: Happy Birthday, Ray Charles

More Resources:

Jazz Up Writing Workshop: Writing Biographies of African American Jazz Musicians

About International Jazz Day


Melba Liston playing with Quincy Jones’s band in Switzerland

Ray Charles playing “America the Beautiful”

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4. March Madness: Basketball Books

First Book loves March Madness! We even have a “friendly” bracket competition going on in the office – although President Obama’s bracket was beating all of us the last time we checked.

Even in the midst of the drama and excitement of the tournament, we recognize that basketball teaches so many meaningful life lessons: courage, cooperation, dedication and hard work. Many of the inspirational lessons taught on the basketball court can also be found in the basketball-related titles that we carry in the First Book Marketplace.

So if you’re a teacher or program leader whose kids are swept up in the magic of March Madness, here are some books available on the First Book Marketplace that embody the spirit of basketball:

Laurence Yep’s Dragon Road: Golden Mountain Chronicles: 1939, is the story of best friends Cal and Barney who are down and out in Chinatown. In the America of 1939, they are trapped by invisible barriers created by racial prejudice. With no jobs and no real homes, it’s only their wizardry with a basketball that’s let them survive this long. That same skill suddenly flings a door open to fame and fortune when a professional basketball team, the Dragons, invites them to join the team.

Long Shot: Never Too Small to Dream Big by Chris Paul and & Frank Morrison, chronicles the story of NBA all-star basketball player Chris Paul. When Chris was a kid everyone told him that he was too small to play basketball. But he ignored them all…because he had BIG dreams.

Off the Rim by Fred Bowen, is the story of Chris, who yearns to be more than a benchwarmer on the Oak View Middle School basketball team. With the help of his best friend Greta and her mom, Chris begins to change his defensive strategy and successfully learns to keep his opponents from scoring.

If you work with children from low-income communities, be sure to register your classroom or program with First Book so we can help you get books for your kids in March, and throughout the year.

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5. Baby and Blue Bonnet Kudos

Baby Zachary made it into the world safe and sound at 7.9 lbs. and 21 inches long Thursday evening. This picture was taken shortly after birth. Can you believe how good Steph looks? I doubt if I would have let anyone take my picture that soon after childbirth. Now David is going to have a lot more writing inspiration. I’m sure all of you will congratulate the Caruba family.


Muriel Weinstein received great news this week. Her book Play, Louis, Play: The True Story of a Boy and His Horn was put on the Texas Blue Bonnet Master List. If you are not familiar with the Texas Blue Bonnet List, it is a list that can really help make your book and will land you an order of 22,000 books – not too shabby.

The program is aimed at students in grades 3-6. Participating students must read a minimum of five books from the current master list before they may vote for their favorite title. Teachers and parents are encouraged to read some of the books aloud. The author of the book receiving the most votes statewide is declared the winner of the Texas Blue Bonnet Award.

The Texas Blue Bonnet Award committee is responsible for selection of the books on each year’s Master List. Suggestions are solicited from librarians, teachers, parents, students and other interested persons. A new list of no more than twenty books is released each year by November.


Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Author, awards, children writing, News, success Tagged: Bloomsbury, David Caruba, Frank Morrison, Muriel Weinstein, The Texas Blue Bonnet Award 2 Comments on Baby and Blue Bonnet Kudos, last added: 10/30/2011
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6. For The Love of Soccer!

Review by Ariadna Sánchez
All eyes will be on Sao Paulo, Brazil this Thursday June 12th when the FIFA World CupTM 2014 begins. The international soccer competition gathers the 32 best soccer teams from around the world to celebrate the passion for fútbol and brotherhood. The winner of this tournament will take home the prestigious FIFA World Cup gold trophy. For all soccer players, participating in the World Cup is an important achievement, and it is also a life learning experience.  Fans from all over the five continents are anxious and excited to witness the magic of soccer in every kick of the ball.

For The Love of Soccer! is written by three-time World Cup champion Pelé and beautifully illustrated by Frank Morrison. Edison Arantes do Nascimento “Pelé” was born on October 23, 1940 in Três Corações, Brazil. The soccer legend’s first book for children portrays the amazing journey from his childhood until becoming an icon worldwide. Pelé’s strong message to children is to enjoy life to the fullest and the importance of team work.  Pelé uses vivid words to motivated young readers to follow their dreams at the same time he encourages children to do it with love.
Pelé is a positive role model for the new generations around the globe. His tenacity and skills allowed him to play professional soccer for Brazilian Team Santos from 1956 until 1974. He also played on Brazil’s National Team giving him the opportunity to win three World Cups. After he retired from Santos in 1974, Pelé joined the New York Cosmos. In 1975, soccer was not a popular sport in the United States. However, Pelé’s energetic and charismatic spirit made soccer be appreciated by the American society.  Nowadays, soccer is considered a massive fever that has spread making this popular sport part of one’s life.   GOOOOOAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!

Check out the following link for additional information regarding the latest news of FIFA World CupTM , Brazil 2014:

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7. The Little Melba Playlist: A Jazz Music Primer from Frank Morrison

Summer is coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean the fun stops! With cooler weather comes fun indoor activities, like catching a great jazz show. We asked Frank Morrison, illustrator of our new picture book biography, Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, to share some of his favorite jazz numbers with us. Many of the artists below played or arranged with Melba Doretta Liston; others inspired Frank while he created his illustrations. So sit back with your cup of apple cider and let the rhythm carry you away!

  • John Coltrane: “Out of This World,” plus Coltrane’s albums The Inch Worm, Big Nick, and Giant Steps
  • Thelonious Monk: “Well, You Needn’t,” “Ruby, My Dear,” “Off Minor,” and “Bemsha Swing”
  • Dizzy Gillespie: “52nd Street Theme” and “A Night in Tunisia”
  • Miles Davis: “Freddie Freeloader,” “Round Midnight,” “Airegin,” and “Blue in Green,” plus Davis’s album Kind of Blue 

little melba and her big trombone

  • Chet Baker: “My Funny Valentine”
  • Art Blakey: “Dat Dere,” “Moanin’,” “Blues March,” “The Chess Players,” and “Señor Blues” (performed with Horace Silver)
  • Abbey Lincoln: “Afro Blue”
  • Clifford Brown: “Daahoud,” “The Blues Walk,” “Jordu,” and “Parisian Thoroughfare”

little melba and her big trombone

  • Duke Ellington: “In a Sentimental Mood” and “Take the ‘A’ Train”
  • Stan Getz: “Corcovado” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”
  • Louis Armstrong: “Summer Song,” “West End Blues,” and “I Got Rhythm”

Still can’t get enough jazz music? Here’s Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood.”

Have your own favorite jazz tunes? Leave ‘em in the comments!

Filed under: Art and Book Design, Lee & Low Likes, Musings & Ponderings Tagged: dizzy gillespie, Duke Ellington, Frank Morrison, jazz music, jazz videos, louis armstrong, melba liston, miles davis, Music, musical instruments, trombones

0 Comments on The Little Melba Playlist: A Jazz Music Primer from Frank Morrison as of 9/17/2014 1:48:00 PM
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8. Illustrator Frank Morrison takes us behind the art of Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

SONY DSCReleased in September, Little Melba and her Big Tromboneis the story of Melba Liston, a little-known but trailblazing jazz musician who broke racial and gender barriers to become a famed trombonist and arranger. We asked illustrator Frank Morrison to take us behind the scenes for creating the art work used in Little Melba and her Big Trombone. 

Illustration Process

  1. After reading the manuscript for Little Melba and her Big Trombone, I immediately searched for references that could help me  bring the story to life. This included clothing from the time period and a trombone, which I have never painted before. I was fortunate enough to find a CD by Melba titled, “Melba Liston and her Bones” as well.  After gathering all of my materials my studio begins to sound like a jazz session as I begin reading.
  2. I make thumbnails sketches and jot down notes on the sides of the manuscript while the Be Bopping is blaring from the speakers. My sketches are loose like a trombone’s slide and they take about a minute each. thumbnails for cover resize
  3. When the thumbnails are completed I being drawing defined sketches from them and at the same time placing them in page order. Sometimes I may have two or three different ideas for a page as shown in the cover sketches.  1st cover sketch resizepage 10-11 sketch  resize
  4.  Once my sketches are approved, I transfer the final drawings to an illustration board. This, of course, is done after I’ve measuring the dimensions and taped off the edges, which includes a half-inch border.2nd cover sketch resize
  5. I spray a fixative on the drawing so it won’t smudge then coat it with a clear gesso. Next I tape the image to a wooden board. The board allows me to work sitting down at my art table or placing the painting on my easel. page 10 -11 gesso resize
  6. Finally I use a lot of jazz music, dancing and oil paints to finish the final art.

melbas cover  resize

PAGES 10-11 resize

Filed under: Art and Book Design, Book News, Cover Design, Dear Readers, Interviews with Authors and Illustrators, Lee & Low Likes, New Releases Tagged: African/African American Interest, art, diversity, Frank Morrison, illustration, illustrations, jazz music, Katheryn Russell-Brown, Little Melba, Little Melba and her Big Trombone, melba liston

2 Comments on Illustrator Frank Morrison takes us behind the art of Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, last added: 11/7/2014
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9. WaterBridge Outreach Books Selection 2015


Logo: WaterBridge Outreach: Books + Water

WaterBridge Outreach: Books + Water recently announced the books in English they have selected this year for donation to the different schools and libraries they support around the world.  WaterBridge Outreach is a non-profit that seeks … Continue reading ...

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