Book: Born to Swing: Lil Hardin Armstrong’s Life in Jazz
Author: Mara Rockliff
Illustrator: Michele Wood
Publisher: Calkins Creek, 2018
Whenever I heard the name Armstrong, I always thought of Louis, until I read this book! Lil Hardin was a pianist in The New Orleans Creole Jazz Band playing at the Dreamland in Chicago when Louis Armstrong came to town. The author wrote, “Today Lil is remembered for her famous husband, Louis Armstrong. But she was already well known before they met, and after they married, she used her reputation to boost his career.”
This picture book text is full of personality and readers will feel like Lil is telling them the story. The author is to be commended for her extensive research. She explains in the back matter that she used many of Lil’s own words from interviews to write the book. Additional information includes a timeline, author’s note, bibliography, and suggested listening examples. Check it out!