Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra

Thank you everyone for all of the great posts each week for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014.

by Chris Raschka
Candlewick Press (May 13, 2014)
Audience:  Grades 2nd to 5th
Biography * Jazz Musicians *  African American Musicians

Description from GoodReads:
Jazz musician Sun Ra (1914–1993) always said that he came from Saturn. Being from another planet, he was naturally intrigued by everything earthly — especially music, because music is the one thing on Earth most like the stars. Earthlings themselves confused Sun Ra, the way they sorted themselves by color and fought wars against one another. So he made music. And he traveled with other musicians and singers, calling themselves the Sun Ra Arkestra, playing, singing, and dancing for people all over the planet. Because music, he said, is what holds us all together. Join acclaimed author-illustrator Chris Raschka in celebrating a legend of the jazz world who was truly one of a kind.

My thoughts on this book:
As soon as I saw the cover of this book, I knew I had to find it.  On Monday's What are you Reading post, I said that this book was "Interesting and a bit out there.  However, I suspect that Sun Ra, the musician, was also a bit out there."  After watching the video that I included below, I can certainly say that Sun Ra was "a bit out there."  

Not knowing much about Sun Ra and his band, I wasn't sure what to expect.  After learning a bit more and reading The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra, I felt that Raschka captured the personality and flare of this very unique jazz musician claiming to be from the planet, Saturn. 

Since I am not sure that I can do justice to this book, I have included links to reviews by Kirkus (a starred review) and Publisher Weekly.  The author's note, found on the Candlewick website, provides further information for readers. Finally, check out the videos included in this post to develop a better sense of who is Sun Ra.

Reviews:  Kirkus | Publisher's Weekly

Additional Material: Author's Notes

Check out the official Book Trailer:

Sun Ra Night Music - 1989 Video Interview & Performance - A Taste of both Sun Ra and his music.

After reading Raschka's The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra, I would like to check out some of  his other Jazz biographies.

John Coltrane's Giant Steps (Simon & Schuster, 2002)

Mysterious Thelonious (Scholastic, 1997)

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews: