by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews
illustrated by Bryan Collier
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2015
The reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from her local library.
When I look at the biography section at my school library, it's hard to find a biography of a living musician. We have biographies of Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, The Beatles, Elvis and Marian Anderson. Trombone Shorty fills the niche; it's a picture book memoir about a living musician and role model for children.
In Trombone Shorty, Troy Andrews (aka Trombone Shorty) recounts his childhood growing up in New Orleans where he was surrounded by the sounds of jazz. When he found a discarded trombone, he began playing his own music in Treme quickly earned the nickname of Trombone Shorty. After being noticed by Bo Diddley, Andrews and his childhood friends formed a band and performed after school.
"I took that trombone everywhere I went and never stopped playing. I was so small that sometimes I fell right over to the ground because it was so heavy. But I always got back up, and I learned to hold it up high."
Andrews' inspirational story and the theme of following your passion will resonate with young readers. Collier's watercolor illustrations and photo collages capture Andrews' personality and the energy of the music scene in New Orleans. The realistic style illustrations, muted colors and photos of people in the crowds give the illustrations an authentic and raw feeling. Music is represented through swirls and shapes in the illustrations. I recommend reading it aloud to children in groups large and small. Be sure to play some music by Trombone Shorty. Pair Trombone Shorty with Little Melba and Her Big Trombone or Josephine.
New Orleans remains an important place for Troy Andrews. He established the Trombone Shorty Foundation to ensure that young musicians in New Orleans receive high quality music instruction. Learn more about the foundation here: http://www.tromboneshortyfoundation.org/