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Trombone Shorty finds riches in his city’s songs

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Trombone Shorty” by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, illustrated by Bryan Collier

c.2015, Abrams Books for Young Readers

$17.95 / $21.95 Canada

40 pages

“Just wait til you’re older!”

Oh, how you hate hearing that! Wait til you’re grown. You need to get bigger. You can’t do that now, you’re too little. But why not? Why can’t you start dreaming of someday right now, while you’re still a kid? As you’ll see in the new book “Trombone Shorty” by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, illustrated by Bryan Collier, dreams can come true at any age.

In the New Orleans neighborhood called Tremé, “you could hear the music floating in the air” day and night. The house where Troy Andrews grew up was filled with music, too, and Troy loved the trombone. He hoped to be a musician some day.

Each year, when Mardi Gras rolled through Tremé, Troy and his neighbors would dance along with the bands in the parades. Man, that was fun! There were balloons, beads, and music, which “made everyone forget about their troubles for a little while.”

That also made Troy want to become a musician even more, so he and his friends created instruments from odds and ends they found around Tremé; Troy was happy to find a beat-up trombone, and he fixed it up good. That’s the best part of being a musician: you can make music from almost anything.

So he was ready. At the next parade, he grabbed his trombone, jumped right in, and started marching with the band. Because he was a little guy and the trombone is a big instrument, Troy ’s brother gave Troy the nickname of “Trombone Shorty,” which is what everybody called him from then on.

“I took that trombone everywhere,” Troy says, “and never stopped playing.”

He even took it to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and he played along with the musicians. He was so loud and so good that Bo Diddley called Trombone Shorty onstage and asked him to jam.

Trombone Shorty knew then that he could have his own band, so he did. Every day after school, his band practiced their music until they were able to perform “all around New Orleans ” — and they still perform today!

Lately, you’ve played air guitar to a Prince song, and were a drummer on your kitchen table. If your kids caught your love of music, they might likewise dream the dreams found inside the award-winning “Trombone Shorty.”

With the same laissez les bon temps vibe you get from merely standing on a New Orleans sidewalk, author Troy Andrews tells of coming up poor and finding riches in his city’s songs. It’s a story that’ll make your children want to dance with music they can almost hear from the pages of this book; those silent songs are underscored by illustrations from Bryan Collier, himself an award-winner.

Be sure to check out the author’s notes. Show your kids the pictures.

While you could surely read this tale aloud to a two-year-old, I think kids ages four-to-seven will like it better. If they love music, especially, “Trombone Shorty” will be a book they won’t be able to wait for.

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