top of page
Yellow textured background

News & Reviews



Greenwillow Books


(pub.5.16.2023) 32 pages

Author and illustrator:

Chris Raschka

Character: Mary Lou Williams


" 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.

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."

Tantalizing taste:

"It was Mary's idea to play

the piano at three.

It was Mary's idea

to play the piano for me.

It was Mary's idea to make

the songs, to lead the band,

to shape the sounds ...

and Mary's ideas are grand."

And something more: The last page of the book includes a quote by Mary Lou Williams: "Your attentive participation, thru listening with your ears and your heart, will allow you to enjoy fully this exchange of ideas, to sense these various moods, and to reap the full therapeutic rewards that good music always brings to a tired, disturbed soul and all 'who dig the sounds.'"

Savion Glover Finds His Funk



Holiday House

(pub.3.28.2023) 40 pages

Author: Selene Castrovilla

Illustrator: Laura Freeman

Character: Savion Glover


" This is a story about tap dancing, a distinctly American art form that blended English-Scottish-Irish clog dancing with African tribal dancing. And it’s about a boy, Savion Glover — who was born to feel the music—to dance and perform and invent. And to delight and awe audiences with the movements of his body.

Savion Glover revitalized modern tap dancing with his jazz and hip-hop influenced 'free-form hard core”style. From his appearances on Sesame Street and choreographing Happy Feet to his Tony award-winning musical Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk, Savion has inspired a new generation of tap dancers."

Tantalizing taste:

"Mixin' it up

in a hip-hop club,

Savion found

his groove

'Da beat

swirled through him,

boppin' round his body

like a challenge

to be met

Only one choice:

let it loose

His feet hammered out

those feelin's inside:









And something more: The AFTERWORD explains: "Savion loved to perform, but something was missing. He wasn't bringing his essence to the audience. He was dancing to someone else's beat. How could he be himself on stage? The solution hit him one night at a hip- hop club. Why not tap to today's rhythms? Funk grooved through Savion, bopping round his body like a challenge to be met. He responded instantly, stomping out the feelings stirring up inside of him. Tap meets hip-hop...

In Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk, Savion used tap and hip-hop to trace racism's roots- to which the origin of tap is linked. Slaves created rhythms to communicate with each other secretly when their drums were forbidden. Portraying "'da Beat," Savion danced through some of history's darker moments."

How Mathematician Edith Clarke

Helped Electrify America



Calkins Creek

(Astra Books for Young Readers)

(pub.3.14.2023) 40 pages

Author: Jan Lower

Illustrator: Susan Reagan

Character: Edith Clarke


" Long before calculators were invented, little Edith Clarke devoured numbers, conquered calculations, cracked puzzles, and breezed through brainteasers. Edith wanted to be an engineer—to use the numbers she saw all around her to help build America.

When she grew up, no one would hire a woman engineer. But that didn’t stop Edith from following her passion and putting her lightning-quick mind to the problem of electricity. But the calculations took so long! Always curious, Edith couldn’t help thinking of better ways to do things. She constructed a “calculator” from paper that was ten times faster than doing all that math by hand! Her invention won her a job, making her the first woman electrical engineer in America. And because Edith shared her knowledge with others, her calculator helped electrify America, bringing telephones and light across the nation."

Tantalizing taste:

" Too ambitious, the grown-ups scolded. Girls belong on the farm.

But when she received money her parents had left her, she defied her family - and spent money on college. To prepare, she read history and literature, hired a tutor to learn Latin, and taught herself ancient Greek.

Edith entered Vassar College at the age most students graduate. She rose to the top of her class - though her Greek accent was hilarious - and left in 1908 with a degree in mathematics and astronomy."

And something more: Jan Lower in the Author's Note explains that "in 2003, Edith Clarke was inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame. In recognition of her Clarke Calculator, Edith was inducted ninto the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2015. The University of Texas created the 'Edith Clarke Woman of Excellence Award' in her honor in 2016."

Where to find Jeanne Walker Harvey books

bottom of page