Diane McBee! Congratulations! You are the winner of a copy of SONG AFTER SONG: THE MUSICAL LIFE OF JULIE ANDREWS! I'll be in touch for how to collect your prize! I know you will love this amazing book! Enjoy!
A Lovely Conversation with Lisa Rogers, author of BEAUTIFUL NOISE
Lisa and I had the loveliest conversation. She is beautiful and gracious and mellow and it was a delight to talk with her about books and music and writing process and art. The marriage of art and text . . . She gives you a little sneak peak read aloud of the first couple of spreads and a wonderful look at the amazing end papers. So cool! I could have talked with Lisa for hours! I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!
BEAUTIFUL NOISE: THE MUSIC OF JOHN CAGE
A unique structure and a unique illustrative style are very well-suited to tell the story of a very unique composer and musician, John Cage. With a compelling if. . . then format, this book will draw readers in and insist that they make decisions about how they see the world -- and how they define music and whether or not they have some similarities to John Cage. Readers of all ages will close this book enlightened and challenged -- and introduced to some musical ideas they possibly have not encountered before.
October 10, 2023
by Lisa Rogers (Author), Il Sung Na (Illustrator)
Anne Schwartz Books
A Little Jam. . .(The Music Kind)
I chose this piece from John Cage's compositions for a few reasons:
1. I try to keep these selections short so that they are of the most benefit in a classroom setting.
2. I think students will be intrigued by these sounds.
3. I really like how this video shows how the piano was "prepared" for this piece of music. I think they will find that fascinating.
There are additional compositions and performances on the YouTube playlist in the links section below.
Teacher Tips, Tricks and Topics
Tips and Topics for Music Teachers
Can I just purport that we thrown out age expectations of picture books? I always say picture books are for everyone, but some books, in particular, while being perfectly suited for younger audiences are at least as well-suited if not even better-suited for older audiences. I believe BEAUTIFUL NOISE is one such book. Yes, it's a picture book for young children, and it introduces John Cage in a very appropriate way for young kids, but it's also a very informative and easy-access way to get older kids interested in JOhn Cage and then do more of an in-depth study of him and his philosophies of music and sound.
Writing Prompts from Tonnye
Writing Tips from Lisa
1. First, it’s essential to read widely in the genre in which you’re writing. Be
sure to read recently-published books, say, within the last five years, and
carefully study them. When you find ones you love, take a closer look. See
how the author sets up the story, notice any special techniques, such as
rhyme, repetition, or lyrical language, notice whether the ending reflects
the beginning…whatever resonates with you. See if you can identify the
heart of the story—the reason why the author wrote the book.
To find books, use the new books section of your library, subscribe to book
bloggers’ posts, read Publishers’ Weekly season previews—new and
exciting books are everywhere!
2. Read your work out loud. After more than 20 years of reading all day, every
day with children, I can make almost anything sound fantastic. But I’m not
always able to hear when my own writing doesn’t work. When I set it aside
for a week or so and then read it out loud, it’s easier to identify the clunky
parts, what I might be able to cut, or whether the story lacks that
emotional core that is required to not only sell the book but have readers
want to explore it again and again.
3. Share your work with critique partners. It can be hard to hear questions
and criticism about something you’ve poured your heart into. But if your
partners identify a hole in your work or have a question, young readers will
too. How to know when you need to rework something? If two or more
readers make similar observations, it’s time to take another look at your
manuscript. Every revision brings your work closer, because you’re thinking
of possibilities and trying them out.
4. Write not to trends, which likely will be outdated by the time your story
becomes published, but to what’s in your heart. It’s hard to find a new idea.
Yet once you develop your own unique response to that idea, your take
could be the key to writing something that holds meaning to you and
resonates with others—including agents and editors.
5. Unplug and spend time observing the world around you. Meditate on your
work in progress. Let your mind float. Keep something near you on which to
write and record any words, phrases, bits of story, or even the essential
heart of the story you’re working on. My best work often comes when I’m
not trying so hard to wrestle words on the page. Instead, I’m thinking about
why I’m writing the story and digging deep into its emotional core. I’ve
written words in the sand and scribbled on the backs of envelopes, and
sometimes, those scribbles become stories.
Links, More Fun, Extensions for Families and Everyone!
A spectacular resource book: Russell, Barry. “Everything we do is music:” Cross-curricular experiments in
sound based on the music of John Cage. Henmar Press/C.F. Peters, 2016.
An excellent article on John Cage and his influence (not written for kids; more to inform us as adults who may be teaching kids).
John Cage's Credo from his book Silence -- interesting reading to get "into his head" and understand why he did some of the things he did.
Pinterest board with a few photos, quotes, musical notation, etc. related to John Cage
YouTube playlist of John Cage music
While we're talking about unique perspectives and unusual presentations, this seems like the perfect PBJ recipe for this episode -- Peanut butter and jelly bacon burger! You can find the recipe here or just begin somewhere and create your own version!
Guest Links and Giveaways
To purchase BEAUTIFUL NOISE: THE MUSIC OF JOHN CAGE (Out October 10, 2023); Preorders available here
Lisa has graciously and generously offered winner's choice of either:
1. A picture book critique
2. A classroom Zoom visit
Leave a comment below to be eligible. A winner will be drawn from all comments entered here within the deadline (Between 9/28/23 and 10/12/23
This page is the official space for PBJamz -- multimedia Jamorama celebrating all things PB (picture books) and Jamz (music), although we'll indulge in the other PBJ snacks where appropriate :-). Join us each Thursday for new content connecting picture books and music!