Young John Coltrane was all ears. And there was a lot to hear growing up in the South in the 1930s: preachers praying, music on the radio, the bustling of the household. These vivid noises shaped John’s own sound as a musician. Carole Boston Weatherford and Sean Qualls have composed an amazingly rich hymn to the childhood of jazz legend John Coltrane.
Before John Was a Jazz Giant is a 2009 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book and a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
“Weatherford’s evocative poem traces Coltrane’s influences simply and stunningly. Qualls’s muted palette of rich hues suggests the smoky jazz moods he would create.”
—School Library Journal
“Even children who are unfamiliar with jazz in general and John Coltrane in particular may find their interest piqued.”
“Will echo with contemporary children, who will recognize the music in their daily lives.”
“This is as much a subtle invitation for children to listen to their own worlds as it is a Coltrane biography.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books