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Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World is a large-format nonfiction book featuring short biographies of 27 pioneering musicians/singers from the 1920s to the present who represent a multitude of music styles, from rock 'n' roll to jazz to rhythm and blues and more. There are frank but unsensational mentions of drug and alcohol abuse by a number of these musicians as well as some sociopolitical content, as many of them were affected by racism, opposed the Vietnam War, or rebelled against other aspects of mainstream American society. The emphasis, however, is on what made each artist's music special and historically important. Two CDs included in the hardcover version give kids a chance to hear a classic track from each artist.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
LEGENDS, ICONS & REBELS: MUSIC THAT CHANGED THE WORLD offers short biographical sketches of 27 influential music pioneers of rock, soul/R&B, country, jazz, pop, and reggae. The artists range from superstars with whom kids may be familiar -- The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, and the Beach Boys -- to less well-known figures such as Curtis Mayfield, Joni Mitchell, Hank Williams, and Ella Fitzgerald. Many profiles include anecdotes about the musicians' lives growing up and the times in which they lived; each one is accompanied by an imaginative portrait by a different contributing artist. Two CDs included in the hardcover version feature a song by each musician.
Is it any good?
Legends, Icons & Rebels is a wonderful introduction to more than two dozen pioneering singers and groups who helped shape modern popular music. The book covers a tremendous range of styles and eras: seminal jazz artists (Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong); early R&B greats (Ray Charles, Louis Jordan); first-gen rock 'n' rollers (Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Little Richard); a few country legends (Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash); pop crooners (Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole); influential soul sensations (Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder); two superstar 1960s groups (the Beatles and the Beach Boys); singer-songwriters (Bob Dylan, Carole King, Joni Mitchell); and the undisputed king of reggae (Bob Marley). Each enthusiastic, two-page, large-type bio has interesting anecdotes, facts, and analysis of what's special about the artist, plus a five-song playlist of recommended listening.
The writing is clear, concise, and well researched. The typography is sometimes jarring, with certain phrases emphasized in larger (and LARGER) type to bring home a point, but it makes for visually stimulating reading. Co-author Robbie Robertson, famous for leading the popular '60s/early '70s group The Band, offers brief personal remarks about each musician. The only quibble is the seemingly random order of the profiles. Had they been arranged chronologically or by genre, developments in the different styles would be more coherent.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about which styles of music in the book and on the CDs they like best. Is there a particular singer or song you find most inspiring?
Why do you think so many parents in the 1950s and 1960s felt threatened by rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues?
If you were going to write songs about your own life, what music style would you choose?
- Authors: Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot, Sebastian Robertson, Jared Levine
- Illustrator: Various illustrators
- Genre: Arts
- Topics: Arts and Dance, History, Misfits and Underdogs, Music and Sing-Along
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Tundra Books
- Publication date: November 8, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 127
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love music of the '60s and '70s
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.