California Reading Association Eureka! Gold Award Winner
A Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
In 1909 Dr. Laurence Clifton Jones opened a home for African American orphans in Mississippi called Piney Woods Country Life School. There, students worked hard on their studies, and no one worked harder than the young musicians who played in the Sweethearts, the school’s all-girl swing band. Their music had rhythms and melodies that got people dancing!
When the Sweethearts left Piney Woods, they moved to Washington, D.C., to try to make it to the big-time in an era when integrated musical groups were practically unheard of. It wasn’t always easy, and it wasn’t always safe, but the talented Sweethearts of Rhythm ultimately became an international sensation.
Karen Deans’s rhythmic text and Joe Cepeda’s exuberant illustrations celebrate these courageous musicians who navigated racist and sexist barriers, and whose music reminded audiences how great it feels to be alive.