John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie

A Man, a Trumpet, and a Journey to Bebop (Change Maker Series)

Children - Non-Fiction
90 Pages
Reviewed on 03/13/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite

In John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie: A Man, a Trumpet, and a Journey to Bebop by Susan Engle and Luthando Mazibuko, we are introduced to one of history’s famous black musicians, John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie, the creator of bebop. We learn that he had a passion for music at an early age. The youngest of ten children, Dizzy was introduced to music by his father, who played multiple instruments. He would also play the piano for his neighbor, Mrs. Harrington. Seeing that the young boy had a gift and was intelligent, Harrington set up a school of sorts to help him learn to read and write. It was Gilespie's elementary school teacher, Miss Alice Wilson, who taught him the tricks of the trombone which eventually led to him playing the trumpet. Despite hard times and struggles growing up, Dizzy never gave up and once he was old enough, he moved from Philadelphia and then to New York. From there the rest is history.

I thought this was a very informative book that could be fun not only for children but adults as well. The illustrations are beautifully done and mesh with the story so well. Illustrator Luthando Mazibuko did a wonderful job creating snapshots from Gillespie’s life. Personally, I have heard of Dizzy Gillespie but other than his name and a few songs, I was clueless going into this book. Author Susan Engle will capture the attention of any reader, young or old in John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie: A Man, a Trumpet, and a Journey to Bebop.