Mary's Idea

by Chris Raschka

On Sale: 05/16/2023

Mary's Idea

by Chris Raschka

illustrated by Chris Raschka

On Sale: 05/16/2023


About the Book

Two-time Caldecott Medal winner Chris Raschka captures the sound, passion, innovation, and love of the arts that the renowned jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams shared with the world. Mary’s Idea is a stunning and transporting picture book about music and the creative process, for readers of Trombone Shorty and Chris Raschka’s acclaimed books about musicians, including Charlie Parker Played Be Bop and Mysterious Thelonious.

At the age of three, Mary Lou Williams taught herself how to play the piano. At the age of fifteen, she was considered a professional. An American jazz pianist and composer, Mary Lou Williams wrote hundreds of compositions, recorded hundreds of songs, and wrote arrangements for musicians, including Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman.

Mary’s Idea is an exquisite picture book about Mary Lou Williams, an artist often overlooked in the canon of American music because of her gender and skin color. With a text full of rhythm and movement and illustrations that sing off the page, Chris Raschka’s picture book is equal parts biography and celebration of the imagination, ideas, and creative process.

Mary’s Idea will find readers in fans of Traci N. Todd’s and Christian Robinson’s Nina, and Brian Selznick’s and Pam Muñoz Ryan’s When Marian Sang.

Includes backmatter.

Critical Praise

“A chromatic tribute to pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981). . . . Along with offering inspiration to young musicians, and like the other tributes to jazz greats that he has been writing and illustrating since the beginning of his career, this loving remembrance captures rich hints of his subject’s joy and sound. Elevating and evocative.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Inspired by the life of jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams (1920–1981), Raschka, in ink, oil pastel, and watercolor, paints the figure’s face and body seated at a piano. . . . The music she creates appears as ribbons of bright swatched squares emanating from the instrument. In a book that’s less conventional biography than hymn to Williams’s spirit, the leitmotif ‘It was Mary’s idea’ underscores the musician’s charting her own course and making her own decisions . . . Back matter supplies more about Williams’s life.” — Publishers Weekly

"Author-illustrator Raschka puts the power of music onto the page, with this poetic tribute to illustrious pianist-composer-conductor (and child prodigy) Mary Lou Williams. . . . On brown craft-paper backgrounds, loose scribbles of bright pastels become notes stacked into chords or pulses and waves of music flowing from creator to listener. . . . The rhyming text is spare yet evocative as any song lyric.” — Booklist


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780063210509
  • ISBN 10: 0063210509
  • Imprint: Greenwillow Books
  • On Sale: 05/16/2023
  • Pages: 32
  • List Price:24.99 CAD
  • Ages: 4 to 8
  • BISAC1 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Music
  • BISAC3 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Women
  • BISAC4 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Concepts / General
  • BISAC5 : JUVENILE FICTION / Concepts / Sounds
  • BISAC6 : JUVENILE FICTION / Imagination & Play
  • BISAC7 : JUVENILE FICTION / Performing Arts / Music
  • BISAC8 : JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Religion & Faith

Mary's Idea by Chris Raschka, Chris Raschka

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