Sonny Rollins Plays the Bridge

Penguin/Nancy Paulsen. Oct. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984813664.
Gr 2-5–This poetic book offers a glimpse into the life and music of Sonny Rollins. It begins with a description of the Bridge and the city surrounding it. Readers then follow Rollins as he is drawn to the bridge to play in harmony with the sounds of the city around him. The real strength of this work is its rich, figurative language. This book would be a terrific support to studying poetry with students. The verse is written in clear lines and stanzas that will support foundational poetry standards. Students could listen to the musicians’s work with this narrative and draw parallels between what they hear in the music and what is described in the text. The lush watercolor illustrations are highly detailed and support the text wonderfully. Back matter includes details about and photographs of Rollins and the Williamsburg Bridge. Reading this back matter with students before analyzing the poetry will support their comprehension and connections. Positive representations of Black artists are always welcome additions to library collections, and this work stands out as a biography in verse.
VERDICT Recommended for elementary collections, especially for poetry, biography, and music units.

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