Children's - Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Make Way For BooksWhile this is meant to honor the role of the black soldier during World War I, the irony in some of the text's prose and the saturated dark illustrations bring it just short of a celebration. Jim Reese, the charismatic leader of the band of musical players, eventually-turned Harlem Hellfighters - the 369th Infantry Regiment, embodied the soulful passion, talent, bravery, courage, and plight of this regiment. Commitment to service looked the same no matter the professions they held -- porters, butlers, hotel doormen, or elevator operators. Intended for older readers, the poignant text and meaningful layout bring this noble group and their efforts into perspective. An important addition to poetry and diversity collections.
Publisher Summary"Lewis's poetics are perfectly complemented by Kelley's evocative pastel illustrations, which both inspire and unsettle." –New York Times
They went by many names, but the world came to know them best as the Harlem Hellfighters. Two thousand strong, these black Americans from New York picked up brass instruments—under the leadership of famed bandleader and lieutenant James Reese Europe—to take the musical sound of Harlem into the heart of war. From the creators of the 2012Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Honor Book, And the Soldiers Sang, this remarkable narrative nonfiction rendering of WWI -- and American -- history uses free-verse poetry and captivating art to tell century-old story of hellish combat, racist times, rare courage, and inspired music.
A regiment of African American soldiers from Harlem journeys across the Atlantic to fight alongside the French in World War I, inspiring a continent with their brand of jazz music.