Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Song of the World

Carlos Santana grew up surrounded by music. His father, a beloved mariachi performer, teaches his son how to play the violin when he is only six years old. But when Carlos discovers American blues, he is captivated by the raw honesty of the music. Unable to think of anything else, he loses all interest in the violin. When Carlos finally receives his first guitar, his whole life begins to change.

The Castrato

It is Florence, 1698, and Angelo Montegne has discovered the cost of having a beautiful voice. Soon, the young castrato is at the center of court intrigue as he struggles with his new reality and those who wish to use him and his soaring soprano singing for their own purposes. As he comes to terms with his altered future, Angelo must choose between a life of fame as the protege of the Prince de Medici or a very different, far humbler destiny with the lovely daughter of the court composer.

How The Beatles Changed The World

The Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, has been called “a night that changed the course of American culture.” More than seventy million television viewers – the largest-ever audience for an entertainment show – watched the Beatles’ performance that February 9, 1964. It was only the beginning.

Had the Beatles been simply the most successful musical group of all time, their place in history would be secure. But they were much, much more. The Beatles changed popular culture forever. They changed the way people listened to music and experienced its role in their lives. And they were even more. For as their work matured, they became nothing less than the embodiment of the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s.

Baby’s in Black

Baby’s In Black is based on a true story. Meet the Beatles… during their stint in Hamburg right at the beginning of the band’s career. This gorgeous, accessible book is an intimate peek into the early years of the world’s greatest rock band. The story follows a small group of German artists, led by photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who fall in love with the Beatles’ music and soon become good friends with the original five band members. The heart of Baby’s In Black is a love story. The “fifth Beatle,” Stuart Sutcliffe, fell in love with the beautiful Astrid Kirchherr when she recruited the Beatles for a sensational (and famous) photography session. When the band returned to the UK, Sutcliffe quit, became engaged to Kirchherr, and stayed in Hamburg to study painting at a prestigious art school. His meteoric career as a modern artist was cut short when he died unexpectedly a year later. The book ends as it begins, with Astrid, alone and adrift; but with a note of hope: her life is incomparably richer and more directed thanks to her friendship with the Beatles and her love affair with Sutcliffe.

The Bourbon Street Musicians

In this rollicking retelling of “The Bremen Town Musicians,” a creaky old jack mule, a droopy hound dog, a ragged rooster, and a bony cat, all unwanted and no longer loved, set out for Bourbon Street in New Orleans to play bebop and make their fortune. Presently they encounter a band of thieves in a shack by a bayou, and though things don’t turn out quite as expected, they end up mighty fine just the same. A bluesy dialect that begs to be read aloud, vivid imagery, and distinctively comic illustrations infuse the adventures of these four determined friends with the flavor of rural Louisiana and the rhythm of New Orleans jazz. Glossary.

My Name Is Celia/Me Llamo Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/La Vida De Celia Cruz

An exuberant picture-book biography of the Cuban-born salsa singer. From its rhythmic opening, the first-person narrative dances readers through Cruz’s youth in Havana, a childhood bounded by scents of nature and home, the sweet taste of sugar, and the sound of music. A singer from an early age, Cruz sang so continually that one of her teachers finally urged her to share her voice with the world. Thus encouraged, she entered competitions, undeterred when her racial heritage prevented her from competing – undeterred, even, when the advent of Castro’s communist regime forced her to leave Cuba as a refugee. Positive even in exile, Cruz made New York City her own and took Miami by storm. The salsa-influenced prose presented in English and in Spanish is followed by a straightforward vita of the singer, noting her death in July 2003. Lopez’s distinguished, luminous acrylic paintings are alive with motion, lush with brilliantly layered colors, and informed with verve and symbolism. This is a brilliant introduction to a significant woman and her music. The only enhancement required is the music itself.

Before There Was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier De Saint-George

The musical superstar of 18th-century France was Joseph Boulogne—a Black man. This inspiring story tells how Joseph, the only child of a Black slave and her White master, becomes “the most accomplished man in Europe.” After traveling from his native West Indies to study music in Paris, young Joseph is taunted about his skin color. Despite his classmates’ cruel words, he continues to devote himself to his violin, eventually becoming conductor of a whole orchestra. Joseph begins composing his own operas, which everyone acknowledges to be magnifique. But will he ever reach his dream of performing for the king and queen of France? This lushly illustrated book by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome introduces us to a talented musician and an overlooked figure in Black history.