Dizzy, a picture book biography, “is the story of one real cool cat who must have been born with a horn in his hands…” Dizzy Gillespie, born poor and often beat up by other kids, re-channeled his anger into playing the trumpet given to him by his music teacher. As he grew older, Dizzy refused to follow the rules of music. He clowned around, added notes to songs, played never-been-heard notes, and always puffed out his cheeks when playing his trumpet. Dizzy had created a new kind of music – BEBOP.
This story is written like a jazz song with LOUD and s t a c c a t o beats, short lines, long lines and more, so the reader can feel the rhythm as seen in the illustration below.
This book promotes individuality, inventor, creative person, risk-taker, unique, and following one’s heart.
AUTHOR: Jonah Winter
ILLUSTRATOR: Sean Qualls
PUBLISHER: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2006
AGE GROUP: 6-8
CREATIVE COMPONENTS: individuality, inventor, creative person, risk-taker, unique, following one’s heart
1) What are you passionate about? Do you feel like you can’t live without it? If you couldn’t pursue your passion, what would you do instead?
2) How do you express yourself creatively?
3) Whether or not you play instrument, what instrument do you like the sound of the most? What instrument do you like the structure and shape of the most?
Notice how the illustrator uses color and thick brush strokes to convey the energy and tone of Dizzy’s music. Paint how you feel when you are doing something you love and then paint how you feel when you are doing something you don’t like.
To learn more about author Jonah Winter, visit:
To learn more about illustrator Sean Qualls, visit: