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Sweet Music in Harlem

by Debbie A. Taylor
Illustrated by Frank Morrison

Published by Lee & Low, 2004
32 pages
ISBN: 1-58430-165-1

Ages 5-8

Uncle Click can’t find his hat, and young CJ embarks on a search of his uncle’s favorite neighborhood haunts trying to track it down in an upbeat picture book that was inspired by Art Kane’s famous photograph A Great Day in Harlem. Uncle Click is a jazz man, and he needs his hat to wear for the photographer coming to take his picture. CJ, an aspiring and talented musician himself, goes from barbershop to diner to nightclub, but no one has seen the hat. Still, everyone loves talking about Uncle Click’s music (“when he wails on his trumpet, the saltshakers bounce!”), and they’re intrigued to hear a photographer is on his way. Soon a whole crowd has gathered on the steps of Uncle Click’s brownstone to be part of the picture. Kane’s memorable photo is reproduced as part of an author’s note explaining how it brought together many of Harlem’s finest jazz musicians with a handful of neighborhood children—an extraordinary event orchestrated by word of mouth. Author Debbie A. Taylor has placed a cast of vibrant African American characters in a wonderful original story that is suggestive of the past but does not try to replicate it. Frank Morrison’s buoyant acrylic artwork matches the energy and flow of the story. CCBC Categories: Picture Books for School-Aged Children. (MS) ©2005 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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