BORN TO SWING: Lil Hardin Armstrong’s Life in Jazz

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BORN TO SWING: Lil Hardin Armstrong’s Life in Jazz

A first-person picture book biography of a groundbreaking female artist

Honesdale, Pennsylvania December 2017 –  The story, rhythms, and passions of Lil Hardin Armstrong—legendary jazz pianist, composer, bandleader and female pioneer on the music stage—are captured in BORN TO SWING Lil Hardin Armstrong’s Life in Jazz, a first-person picture-book biography written by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Michele Wood.  The book will be published by Calkins Creek, an imprint of Highlights, in January 2018.

“I was born to swing, and that’s the truth.” In this upbeat picture book, award-winning author Mara Rockliff brilliantly relates the words of “Hot Miss Lil” Hardin Armstrong, a legendary but relatively unknown jazz star. At a time when most women in music were singers, Armstrong achieved fame as a bandleader and composer and “swung” with early jazz greats like the trumpeter who became her husband, Louis Armstrong. Her passion for music put her at the front and center of big bands, and led her to Paris where le jazz hot was all the rage. Wonderfully evocative illustrations by Michele Wood are the perfect accompaniment to this fascinating story. 

Kirkus Reviews says of BORN TO SWING: “Rockliff relates the jazz pioneer's story in Lil Hardin's imagined and enthusiastic first person, her conversational address developing an appropriately big personality…Wood's bright, naïve acrylics complement the narrative style.”

And School Library Journal raves: “(T)he illustrations and first-person text showcase an exuberance evident in the life of “Miss Lil,” who pioneered not only female musicianship in jazz, but jazz itself.”

The title also includes an author’s note, a timeline, a partial discography, a bibliography, and archival images.

BORN TO SWING Lil Hardin Armstrong’s Life in Jazz * Calkins Creek * Written by Mara Rockliff * Illustrated by Michele Wood

January 2018 * 978-1-62979-555-3 * $17.95 U.S. * $23.95 CAN * boydsmillspress.com

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