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February 15, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Arts Books for Youth
High culture, pop culture, and good old Broadway spectacle rub shoulders in this year’s top picks about the arts, all of which received starred reviews in Booklist during the past 12 months. This year’s selections suggest an inclination for great arts books to come in pairs: the list includes two fine titles conveying the spirit of jazz for children, as well as two picture-book portraits of female sculptors in U.S. history.
Dizzy. By Jonah Winter. Illus. by Sean Qualls. 2006. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $16.99 (0-439-50737-5). Gr. 2–4.
Winter’s down-to-earth text and Qualls’ bouncing, undulating pictures give shape to the life of young John Birks Gillespie, whose world expands after a teacher gives him a trumpet.
Dramarama. By E. Lockhart. 2007. Hyperion, $15.99 (0-7868-3815-9). Gr. 8–12.
Readers gaga for High School Musical won’t want to miss this paean to backstage ambition and heartache, chronicling the travails of two teens at a theater institute.
I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter. By Lynn Cullen. 2007. Bloomsbury, $16.95 (9781599900469). Gr. 8–12.
In this powerful family drama, narrated by the 14-year-old daughter of Rembrandt and interweaving facts about the artist, Cullen fleshes out her characters with unusual sensitivity.
Jazz on a Saturday Night. By Leo and Diane Dillon. Illus. by the authors. 2007. Scholastic/Blue Sky, $16.99 (0-590-47893-1). Gr. 1–3.
“Toe-tappin’” poems and paintings that seem to swing off the pages bring to life a mythical Saturday night at a jazz club, featuring an all-star ensemble of bebop greats.
Johnny Cash. By Anne E. Neimark. 2007. Viking, $15.99 (0-670-06215-4). Gr. 6–9.
Neimark’s sharply written entry in the Up Close biography series will enrich readers’ appreciation for Cash’s outlaw spirit and his distinctive, rugged sound.
The Melting Season. By Celeste Conway. 2006. Delacorte, $15.95 (0-385-73339-9). Gr. 9–12.
In a nuanced exploration of growing up in an intense, artistic household, 16-year-old Giselle trains for a challenging ballet role, falls for an amazing boy, and moves upset family relationships into a new balance.
Patience Wright: America’s First Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy. By Pegi Deitz Shea. Illus. by Bethanne Andersen. 2007. Holt, $17.95 (0-8050-6770-1). Gr. 2–4.
This effective biography introduces an artist as fascinating for her successful Revolutionary-era career as for the spy messages she secreted within her sculpted creations.
The Rising Star of Rusty Nail.
By Lesley M. M. Blume. 2007. Knopf, $15.99 (9780375835247). Gr. 4–6.
Brimming with vibrant characters, this rich, humorous novel sets the ambitions of Franny, a gifted young pianist, against Red Scare paranoia aswirl in her small town.
Vinnie and Abraham. By Dawn FitzGerald. Illus. by Catherine Stock. 2007. Charlesbridge, $15.95 (9781570916588). Gr. 2–4.
Fitzgerald’s sturdy offering traces the life of Vinnie Ream, the talented teen sculptor who shocked many by winning the commission to create Abraham Lincoln’s memorial statue.
The Wall: Growing Up behind the Iron Curtain. By Peter Sís. Illus. by the author. 2007. Farrar/Frances Foster, $18 (0-374-34701-8). Gr. 7–10.
In a powerful combination of graphic novel and picture book, Sís’ innovative memoir chronicles his life in Czechoslovakia under Soviet rule, highlighting how his artistic coming-of-age was fettered by Communist control.
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