by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews; illustrated by Bryan Collier
Autobiographical picture book
Interest level: K-6
Reading level: 4.0
Caldecott Honor, 2016
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, 2016
5 out of 5 stars
Trombone Shorty is an inspiring picture book autobiography. Troy Andrews tells the story of growing up in a poorer neighborhood in New Orleans. He and his friends would make musical instruments out of found objects and pretend to be marching in one of the bands that paraded down the streets. One day he found a trombone, and even though it was almost bigger than he was, he began to play. When a parade of musicians went down the street one day, Troy grabbed that trombone and joined them, the youngest and smallest, and earned the nickname, Trombone Shorty.
Bryan Collier’s watercolor and collage illustrations help create the feeling of the music and the place, and he has included some wonderful imagery to capture the story. For example, as Trombone Shorty’s musical career takes off, we see him in the basket of a rising hot air balloon, with flames coming from the bell of his trombone providing the flame that lifts the balloon.
The back of the book includes notes from both Troy Andrews and Bryan Collier, as well as information about the Trombone Shorty Foundation, which preserves the rich musical history of New Orleans and provides musical opportunities to underserved New Orleans high school students who are gifted in music.
A very inspiring story that will interest young readers who are interested in music. Music teachers could also use this book in lesson on jazz.