The Music in George's HeadFall 2016 Non-Fiction
The "George" in the title is George Gershwin, and author Suzanne Slade, whose specialty is smart and engaging non-fiction for young people, relates with tale-spinning verve how the iconic composer's The Rhapsody in Blue came to be. Rooting the creation of the masterwork in Gershwin's sensitivity to the rhythms of bustling New York where he grew up, Slade launches the story with a Gershwin quote-"I frequently hear music in the very heart of noise." It begins with Gershwin's self-guided, childhood introduction to the piano and ends with The Rhapsody in Blue's ground-breaking premiere, a composition fueled by Gershwin's absorption of classical music, the popular music of his time (ragtime, Harlem jazz, and the blues), and the sounds and tempos of the city. Illustrator Stacy Innerst frames and complements the lively tempo of Slade's prose with visually rhythmic hand-lettering and acrylic paintings done in deep blue, white and umber. Slade includes a lively end-of-book description of Gershwin's life that encompasses his collaboration with his lyricist brother, Ira; as well as a timeline of Gershwin's life, and a bibliography of source material. Innerst offers an explanatory note about his use of archival photographs for the book's settings and how he depicted Gershwin's inspirations and influences.