Hey, Charleston! by Anne Rockwell Book Review

Hey, Charleston!: The Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band by Anne Rockwell
Illustrated by Colin Bootman

In 1891, Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins opened an orphanage in Charleston, South Carolina. Needing a way to support them, he asked for the townspeople to donate old band instruments, sometimes left over from the Civil War  in an effort to start some kind of orchestra or band. He found teachers and soon the orphanage had a band. And what a band it was. The people of Charleston loved the Jenkins Orphanage Band whose unique style of music "rag", a rhythm inspired by the African-American people who lived on the South Carolina and Georgia coast. The band became world famous and performed as far away as Paris and London and still exists today.

What a fantastic biography. A little wordy, but told at a pace that would keep the 6-9 crowd engaged, I felt like I learned a ton after reading this story. How "The Charleston" came to be such a famous dance, where "rag" originated, and more importantly the story of the band and a very generous man who started it all. Illustrated to perfection , I think this is a must for anyone looking to add something to their collection of books dealing with subjects like music, history, biographies, or social-studies.

And since the band, not the orphanage, has been disbanded, here is a clip from the 1930's of the Jenkins Orphanage Band.