Parents' Guide to

Birth of the Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

By Kyle Jackson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Poetry and soulful pastel art bring musician to life.

Birth of the Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound Poster Image

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First-time author Kathleen Cornell Berman's poetic free verse does a nice job of capturing a jazzy feeling while telling Miles Davis' story effectively. Quotes from Miles himself are interspersed and highlighted throughout the text, giving readers a taste of how he talked and wrote. The gorgeous, soulful pastel drawings by illustrator Keith Henry Brown breathe life into the book, offering a visual representation of bebop and mid-20th-century Americana.

While Birth of the Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound doesn't delve into Miles' troubled personal life, it does briefly touch on the racial politics of the period and gives readers a sense of what New York's musical playground represented for African American artists. For parents looking to expose their children to jazz and one of the genre's finest practitioners, Birth of the Cool -- paired with the classic album of the same title -- is an excellent place to start.

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