Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist

By: Susan Wood

Illustrator: Duncan Tonatiuh

2017 Pura Belpré Award Honor, Illustrations
A playful picture-book biography of Juan García Esquivel, musical innovator and father of space-age, bachelor-pad lounge music. Author's note. Illustrator's note. Resources. Photograph of Esquivel. Full-color illustrations were hand-drawn, then collaged digitally.

ISBN: 9781580896733

JLG Release: Jan 2017


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Juan García Esquivel (1918–2002) , Composers , Mexico , Music

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Awards & Honors

ALSC Notable Children’s Books 2017, Older Readers
CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2017, 3–5
2017 Notable Books for a Global Society

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
Much as Juan García Esquivel (1918–2002) made a great contribution to music history, this title is an important addition to music biography collections. Beginning with Tampico, Mexico, the text and illustrations work together to showcase how a world filled with sound influenced and inspired a young Esquivel and co
[STARRED REVIEW]
Much as Juan García Esquivel (1918–2002) made a great contribution to music history, this title is an important addition to music biography collections. Beginning with Tampico, Mexico, the text and illustrations work together to showcase how a world filled with sound influenced and inspired a young Esquivel and continued to do so throughout his life. Esquivel is shown listening to “whirling” mariachi bands, modifying a player piano to suit his own compositions, experimenting with unusual instruments like the theremin, and conducting musicians in unique and unprecedented ways. The text explores how Esquivel’s love of sound led to new ways of making music, most notably in his pioneering of stereo sound and lounge music. Tonatiuh’s illustrations are lively and colorful—a perfect match for Esquivel’s personality and work. Occasional blocks of text make this title best suited for upper elementary students. Back matter includes an author’s note expanding on Esquivel’s influence and an illustrator’s note on how the art was created. VERDICT A beautiful addition to music biography collections for upper elementary students.—Shannan Hicks, J.S. Clark Elementary School Library, LA

Horn Book

Growing up in Mexico, Juan Garcia Esquivel got an earful of mariachi, but he wanted to create his own sound. Self-taught and persistent, he was playing piano at a radio station at fourteen and leading an orchestra for a radio comedy show at seventeen. His sound was so infectious that word traveled to the United States; a record company invited him Growing up in Mexico, Juan Garcia Esquivel got an earful of mariachi, but he wanted to create his own sound. Self-taught and persistent, he was playing piano at a radio station at fourteen and leading an orchestra for a radio comedy show at seventeen. His sound was so infectious that word traveled to the United States; a record company invited him to New York, which led to international success. Esquivel’s rewardingly strange instrumentals and his innovations in stereo sound would come to define mid-twentieth-century lounge music. There’s not much personal information here—one must turn to the author’s note to learn that Esquivel died in 2002—but the story of his professional rise is told with pep and a keen awareness of how to best explain Esquivel’s skills to young readers (“When the radio comedian needed music for a skit about, say, a stout man walking his tiny poodle down a busy city street, Juan had to imagine what that might sound like”). Illustrator Tonatiuh (The Princess and the Warrior, rev. 9/16), once again working within the tradition of the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Mixtec codex, takes a fittingly offbeat approach to portraying the very modern Esquivel, whose music, as Wood puts it, “sounded like a crazy rocket ride zigzagging through outer space.” Appended with source notes and lists of assorted resources. nell beram

Book Details

ISBN

9781580896733

First Release

January 2017

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

780.92 B

Trim Size

10" x 10"

Page Count

32

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.6; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 6.3; Points: 3;

Lexile

Level 910L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Charlesbridge

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Juan García Esquivel (1918–2002), Composers, Mexico, Music,

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