By Nora Vasconcelos
By Nora Vasconcelos
A little while ago, while listening to a Jazz concert, I found myself quite happy to see that there were many children around.
As the concert advanced, one little boy, about 4 years old, started to dance following the enjoyable notes that came from the instruments played by the musicians on the stage. At some point the little kid lost his balance and found some support on my chair.
I smiled at him and helped him to regain his balance and cheered him up to continue dancing, as his dad looked happy I was encouraging his little son.
This experience made me realize how important it’s for new generations not only to get to know the Jazz and Big Bands classics from the Golden Age, but also to enjoy them.
Wondering what else it could be done to share with little children the love for Jazz, apart from taking them to live concerts and playing jazz music to them, I came across with a wonderful book called Who was Louis Armstrong?, by Yona Zeldis McDonough, and illustrated by John O’Brien.
The edition, designed to be read by children, tells the story of Louis Armstrong, since he was a little boy growing up in New Orleans, from the time he sold newspapers in the streets to help his family out, until the time he found his first cornet in a pawn shop.
Presented with lots of illustrations and a big nice font, the story continues up to the times when Armstrong played in Chicago and New York, along with the good and the bad times.
The books also includes fun materials that talk about the history and development of Jazz in the United States, the interaction between Steamboats and Jazz, the several influences that have become part of this music as well as the main instruments that form part of it, and some popular terms.
Happy with my book, I got even happier when I learned, some time later, that Chris Raschka, writer and illustrator, has also designed and published some children’s books with which he inspires very young readers to get to know the life and work of jazz musicians with titles such as Charlie Parker played Be Bop, Mysterious Thelonious, John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, and The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra.
Some other children’s books that talk about jazz musicians are Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra and Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa by Andrea Davis Pinkney.
With this, my hopes are that more are more kids will grow up learning about Jazz and ejoying its joyful melodies, which hopefully will bring happines to their lives and to all of those who will happen to be around. And who knows, may be, in the future, these young readers might become the next Jazz starts!
By Nora Vasconcelos
Tony Cleaver has traveled around the world spending his time abroad teaching, discovering new roads around the mountains and writing. After living in the UK, Singapore, the Netherlands and Chile, it was Colombia which enchanted him so much that took him back to live there and to write a novel that explores what life is like in the different urban and rural areas of this South American country.
Published by Book Guild Publishing, “El Mono” tells the story of different characters, and show how their lives change through time as they interact in different situations.
While getting to know each other, their friendships get more solid, and are these bonds that help them go through the rough moments, both when their paths take unexpected turns and when things in the country get difficult.
But it’s one mysterious figure which influences their lives the most. “El Mono” appears in the city once in a while to help and protect Juan Sebastian, who’s gone blind while working in the gold mines and who has found a way to earn a living by selling pottery pieces at the Popayan market. “El Mono” has also captivated the curiosity of young Karin Roth, an exchange student who has come to Colombia all the way from England.
This intriguing character is a mountain man who speaks English and Spanish, as well as the secret language of nature, so that, animals feel comfortable with him the same as he feels at home surrounded by the sheer lands of the Colombian ladscapes.
But things get complicated when the corporate life intersects the expectations of Karin and her friend Claudia, and the ones of Juan Sebastian and his friend Hugo. Then, everything changes, and the challenges grow page after page as the story develops, bringing to live the streets of the Colombian cities, as well as the paths of its countryside.
Things could be more complicated, but “El Mono” is there to fight for what he feels is fair. And to help the readers to go through the difficult passages, Tony Cleaver presents in his writing an extraordinary easiness which shows that the complexity attached to this country -which story goes back to the XVI century- has not affected or changed the magic of the Colombian culture and its natural scenery.
By Nora Vasconcelos
If you’ve ever got bored of your everyday sandwich, or have wished you could take something delicious to eat during lunch time, then this book is for you!
Crazy for Breakfast Sandwiches , by Jessica Harlan, presents 101 recipes for “delicious, handheld meals”, all of them offering something original: from waffle sandwiches, to muffin pizzas and chili cheese dogs.
“Like most people, I rarely have time to make the elaborate morning meals of my dreams. My solution? For a quick and tasty morning meal, I make a sandwich. You can pack a world of flavors alongside an egg between pieces of bread, English muffin, or even bagel. Healthy or decadent, vegetarian or meaty – the choice is yours,” says Jessica Harlan in the introduction of her book.
Published by Ulysses Press, this book offers all sort of ideas to prepare unexpected sandwiches in a short time. Taking the best advantage of the sandwich maker, fresh ingredients and made-in-advance food, the author has developed all sort of recipes, not only for breakfast but also for brunch, lunch and dinner.
Saussage and Cheese Biscuit, Turkey and Egg Whites, Herb Pancakes with Prosciutto, Chicken and Waffles, and the classic Ham and Egg English Muffin are some of the ideas that give everyone something delicious to eat every day.
And for those who are dessert lovers, innovative recipes come along with this book as well, from Apple Pie Donut Sandwich to S’mores Toasts and Warm Strawberry Shortcake, among others.
Either if you prepare your sandwiches to eat them at home, to take them to work or to school, these small combos made of bread in all its different forms, and creative and delicious food, are meant to be enjoyed with every single bite.
* All images courtesy of Ulysses Press