book review

The Deaf Musicians by Pete Seeger and Paul Dubois Jacobs

Cover Image

Lee loves jazz, and every night he played his piano at the jazz club, “yimba-timba-TANG-zang zang”. Then Lee begins to lose his hearing, and his music starts coming out wrong, “ronk. phip. tonk”. Fortunately, Lee finds a school for the deaf, where he learns sign language and sees new music in hands going “boo-bang-bing”. Lee finds other musicians at the school and they start a jazz band that plays on the subway. This is an amazing story about music–as a form of communication, as something that brings people together and creates friendships, as a way to feel good about yourself and others, as something that celebrates difference and yet is all-inclusive. The illustrations are perfect for the story, sharp and well, jazzy. People’s faces are done in colors like pink, purple, and orange, but this just further serves to lift the story beyond the everyday realm of black and white, and into another world entirely, one filled with music for everyone.

This book may be difficult for kids to grasp on the first read, but they will enjoy the language and the illustrations, and reading it together will give you the chance to open a positive discussion about difference, and differences, among people. So, give this one a chance, you will certainly be rewarded.

–Miss Tracey

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