Perfectly timed to celebrate this Black History Month, award-winning children’s author JaNay Brown-Wood returns with JAM, TOO? (On Sale February 20, 2024; Ages 3-6)! This dazzling rhyming picture book encourages readers to follow their heart and try new things and has already received TWO starred reviews. Lustrous illustrations by Jacqueline Alcántara bring to life the joy of making music together.
Kirkus praises, “With nearly singable text, this tale beckons readers to move. A fantastic book-jam that delights the ear just as much as the eye.” Publishers Weekly calls it “joyful,” “jubilant,” and says, “[O]nomatopoeia ripple through Brown-Wood’s rhyming, irresistibly rhythmic verse, immersing readers in the percussive experience.”
An impromptu drum circle is forming on the beach, and one fascinated child would love to join in. Soon there’s everything from a conga’s pat-a-pat-a, pat pat to some bongos’ taka taka, ta ta—and it looks like so much fun! But what do you do when you don’t have a drum? Well, when you let the music move you, you just might find other ways to jam, too!
JAM, TOO? features a wide array of percussion instruments, from maracas and the djembe drum to zills and a shekere. Alcántara effectively captures the diverse range of musical instruments and the lively community a love of music can create. Brown-Wood’s innate love of music and the community it can foster is palpable throughout the book.
The young girl in JAM, TOO? isn’t sure if the drum circle will accept her, but eventually she just lets the music carry her into the circle, to very happy results. This warm-hearted story empowers readers with themes of music, community, Black girl joy, and how we all have different talents to contribute.
PRAISE FOR JAM, TOO?
★ “Each percussion instrument has its own onomatopoeic sound that undulates across the pages as the beat variations grow…In Alcántara’s richly colorful illustrations…the musicians add as much color as they do sound, illustrating the amazing way that making music can bring people together and create community…With nearly singable text, this tale beckons readers to move. A fantastic book-jam that delights the ear just as much as the eye.” – Kirkus, starred review
★ “Readers can clap, tap, and drum along to a rhythmic jam session in this joyful seaside introduction to percussion…[O]nomatopoeia ripple through Brown-Wood’s rhyming, irresistibly rhythmic verse, immersing readers in the percussive experience. In Alcántra’s expressive artwork, bright, summery hues of azure, fuchsia, and lime green leap out against the sand, adding to the jubilant vibes.”
– Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Brown-Wood’s short and satisfying rhyming couplets provide a steady beat to guide Alcántara’s colorfully energetic marker-and-Photoshop illustrations that leap off the page with movement…[R]eaders will be delighted to see that while the child may not have an instrument, the young one still has plenty of rhythmic skills to share. Surely a storytime winner, this radiant picture book will keep kids coming back to move and groove in their community.”
– The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This entertaining cumulative tale demonstrates the rhythmic power of music to bring people together in friendship.” – Booklist
JaNay Brown-Wood, PhD (janaybrownwood.com), is an award-winning children’s author, poet, educator, and scholar. Her previous books include Imani’s Moon, winner of the NAESP Children’s Book of the Year Award, and Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story!, winner of the CELI Read Aloud Book Award. She lives in Fair Oak, Sacramento, California.
Jacqueline Alcántara (jacquelinealcantara.com) is the award-winning illustrator of The Field and Climb On! (both by Baptiste Paul), Freedom Soup (by Tami Charles), Jump at the Sun (by Alicia D. Williams), and Your Mama (by NoNieqa Ramos), a finalist for the Kirkus Prize. Her books have been named Best Books of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, and The Horn Book, among others. She draws and teaches illustration in Chicago, Illinois.