In New Orleans in the 1930's, young Sonny Comeaux has to work before school to help his mother make ends meet. When Mama looses her job, Sonny is worried. Rent day is coming soon, and if they miss pay
In New Orleans in the 1930's, young Sonny Comeaux has to work before school to help his mother make ends meet. When Mama looses her job, Sonny is worried. Rent day is coming soon, and if they miss paying by just one day, the landlord will put them out on the street and sell their belongings.
As Sonny wanders sadly through Jackson Square after school one day, his attention is caught by the lively music of Smilin' Jack, a popular jazz musician. Soon Sonny finds himself telling Smilin' Jack his troubles. What Smilin' Jack tells Sonny then - how to raise money for the rent while having the world's best party - changes both their lives forever.
Award-winning author William Miller tells his most affecting story yet, accompanied by Charlotte Riley Webb's brilliantly-colored paintings that perfectly capture the rhythms of New Orleans jazz. This powerful story of family, friendship, and the bonds that bring people together is a timely reminder of the responsibility we all share to help others in a time of need.
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"Imparting the dynamism and transformative power of jazz onto the printed page is no easy matter. Miller has managed to pull it off, greatly aided by the bold colors and vibrancy of Charlotte Riley-Webb's illustrations."
"Miller's spryly narrated, uplifting story set in New Orleans in the 1930s springs from an intriguing tradition. . . Riley-Webb's gaily hued acrylic paintings seem to keep time with the music. Composed of swirling, broad strokes, the art evokes the mood of the jazz riffs as it depicts the streets of the French Quarter."
— Publishers Weekly
View Biographical note
William Miller has written many highly-acclaimed children's books including Golf Night, a Parent's Choice Award Gold Medal winner, and Zora Hurston and the Cranberry Tree, a Reading Rainbow featured title. Miller lives in York, Pennsylvania, where he teaches creative writing and African American literature at York College.
Charlotte Riley-Webb is a fine artist, much of her work focuses on visually documenting her African American heritage, and the significance of music to that heritage can be seen in the rhythm, movements, and colours of her paintings. Riley-Webb and her husband live in Locust Grove, Georgia.