Struttin’ with Some Barbecue: Lil Hardien Armstrong Becomes the First Lady of Jazz

By: Patricia Hruby Powell

Illustrator: Rachel Himes

From the time she was a little girl in early 1900s Memphis, Lil Hardin was drawn to music. Her mother wanted Lil to be a proper lady and study classical music. But that was no life for Lil: music was no fun without the blues!

Author’s note. Further information on Lil Hardin Armstrong. Note on jazz. Note on segregation. Note on Armstrong’s family and estate. Time line. Glossary. Further resources and selected bibliography. Quotation sources. Index. Black-and-white illustrations created in ink and graphite.

ISBN: 9781580897402

JLG Release: Mar 2019


Sensitive Areas: Racism, Mention of a beating
Topics: Lil Hardin Armstrong (1898–1971) , Louis Armstrong (1901–1971) , Jazz musicians , Songwriting , Piano music , Trumpet music , Segregation , Biographies in verse , Memphis, Tennessee , Chicago, Illinois

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Awards & Honors

Kirkus Best Books, Middle-Grade - 2018

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Kirkus Reviews*, School Library Journal, Booklist

School Library Journal

This biography in verse tells the story of Lil Hardin Armstrong, the first lady of jazz and Louis Armstrong’s first wife. While the book starts with Hardin Armstrong’s birth, most of the text focuses on her time as a jazz pianist in the 1920s and her influential role in Louis Armstrong’s success. The poetry is free form and peppered with bits This biography in verse tells the story of Lil Hardin Armstrong, the first lady of jazz and Louis Armstrong’s first wife. While the book starts with Hardin Armstrong’s birth, most of the text focuses on her time as a jazz pianist in the 1920s and her influential role in Louis Armstrong’s success. The poetry is free form and peppered with bits of scat as an ode to early jazz, and it works well as a vehicle to tell the story of such a strong figure in this movement. Hardin Armstrong’s life is compelling, and readers will be inspired by her perseverance and rise to success in a male-dominated field and in the face of segregation. However, details about her life are less realized than in a typical biography partly because of the book’s lyrical format. Thankfully Powell includes a variety of back matter including more information on Hardin Armstrong, jazz music, and the rise of jazz clubs in the 1920s. The charming illustrations nicely enhance the text. VERDICT Recommended for most libraries, especially where biographies circulate well.–Ellen Conlin, Naperville Public Library, IL

Book Details

ISBN

9781580897402

First Release

March 2019

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

781.65092 B

Trim Size

9" x 6"

Page Count

96

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.8; Points: 1;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 0; Points: 0;

Lexile

Level 900L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Charlesbridge

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Racism, Mention of a beating

Topics

Lil Hardin Armstrong (1898–1971), Louis Armstrong (1901–1971), Jazz musicians, Songwriting, Piano music, Trumpet music, Segregation, Biographies in verse, Memphis, Tennessee, Chicago, Illinois,

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