“I was six years old the day we left the farm in Mississippi,” remembers Cassie in this richly textured picture book. “Between the boll weevils, the floods, and the landlord, there was no way a family
“I was six years old the day we left the farm in Mississippi,” remembers Cassie in this richly textured picture book. “Between the boll weevils, the floods, and the landlord, there was no way a family could scratch out a living there anymore.” Packing themselves into an old jalopy—with Daddy, Uncle Vern, and Mama in the front seat and Cassie and her two brothers in the back—they joined the Great Migration from the impoverished Deep South to Chicago, where there was work to be had in the stockyards. Across the kids’ laps lay Daddy’s prized possession, a six-string guitar. Daddy worked hard to put food on the table, but what he really loved was playing the blues. This evocative tale of the African-American odyssey in search of a better life is also a homage to the uniquely American music that developed from African music and American spirituals, work songs, and folk ballads. In the book’s backmatter, Garland relates how he first heard and fell in love with blues music, beginning a lifelong fandom. Portraits and thumbnail biographies of great blues musicians and landmark songs complete this tribute to the great American music and the yearnings that produced it.
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MICHAEL GARLAND (Patterson, NY) is the author and illustrator of 34 children’s picture books and the illustrator of more than 40 books written by others. Miss Smith and the Haunted Library is a New York Times bestseller and has been joined by Miss Smith Under the Ocean and Miss Smith’s Incredible Storybook (California and Delaware State Reading Awards). Other recent books include Lost Dog, Tugboat, Car Goes Far, Fish Had a Wish (starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Top 25 Picture Books of the Year), Where’s My Homework?, and Grandpa’s Tractor (selected for the Original Art of Children’s Book Show by the Society of Illustrators in NYC). He has illustrated bestselling picture books for James Patterson, Gloria Estefan, and other celebrity authors, and his illustrations for Patterson’s SantaKid were the inspiration for Saks Fifth Avenue’s Christmas holiday window display in New York City. Garland’s Christmas Magic has become a seasonal classic and is currently in development as an animated Christmas special.