Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, December 8, 2011


By Anna Harwell Celenza ▪ Illustrated by Don Tate 
A perfect picture book, with CD, for the holidays!
If my books can make classical music more accessible to kids, that would be a dream come true.
-Anna Harwell Celenza, author

Before illustrating this book, I never even considered listening to Ellington music — or Tchaikovsky either, for that matter. Big band jazz? Classical? That’s for old people, was my thinking. I’ll stick to my R&B, funk, hip-hop. But research for the book led me to Ellington’s and Tchaikovsky’s music. While I worked, I be-bopped to Toot Toot Tootie Toot and Zeet Zurzday. And before long, I was downloading jazz and classical music. I became a fan of both musical genres, and I hope this book will have the same effect on kids.
-Don Tate, illustrator (click on his name to see his illustrations from the book)

This book is the story behind the story of how the great Duke Ellington and his friend and collaborator Billy Strayhorn put a jazzy 1960's spin on an 1890's classical suite and created the nuttiest Nutcracker of all:


  1. I love this music! Brings back many wonderful memories of my family when I was growing up in New York City. I love the City it has so much life just like their music especially Jazz, Latin Jazz, and Classical music. I learned to play the piano at the age of seven and I got to play twice at Carnegie Hall. I studied a specific piece at The Brooklyn Conservatory Of Music "The Lords Prayer" Beautiful Piece of music. I love your blog it's wonderful, thank you.

  2. New York City is one of my favorite places. Someday I hope to get to Carnegie Hall (as part of the audience, not as a performer!) Thanks for the kind comment - makes me happy to know you like my blog.