Hosea Plays on

Kathleen M Blasi (Author) Shane W. Evans (Illustrator)


This heartwarming picture book (based on a true story) depicts a day in the life of Hosea Taylor, a musician who--with his charm, talent, and generosity--brought joy to everyone he met.

Every day, Hosea takes the Number 42 bus into the city to play his shiny brass saxophone--and to hopefully earn enough money. Setting up in his favorite place, Hosea makes sweet music as people greet him with a smile, a little girl dances, and crowds surround him. A surprise ending reveals what the money is really for. Kathleen Blasi's delightful text and Shane Evan's colorful images capture the real-life closeness between the much-loved Hosea--who shared his passion for music and life with everyone--and his community.

An Author's Note explains how Blasi learned about Hosea Taylor (1948-2016), and what compelled her to write his story.

Product Details

$16.95  $15.59
Sterling Children's Books
Publish Date
January 07, 2020
9.2 X 0.4 X 11.6 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author

Kathleen M. Blasi enjoys shining a light on the stories of everyday heroes. Active in the children's writing community, she is a former Co-Director of the Rochester Children's Book Festival, for which she received the 2015 New York State Reading Association Literacy Advocate Award. Kathleen lives with her family in Upstate NY, where, through writing workshops, she fosters the curiosity of young storytellers. Visit her online at kmblasi.com and on Twitter @kmblasi.

Shane Evans is the illustrator of many picture books whose accolades range from being honored by First Lady Laura Bush at the 2002 National Book Festival to The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and the Orbis Pictus Award(R) for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children. In 2012, he won the Coretta Scott King Book Award for Illustrators for Underground. Shane Evans lives in Kansas City, MO. For more information, please visit shaneevans.com.


"A fictional tribute to a local musician whose dedication to music has a long-lasting effect on his community. Blasi's narrative centers on a Rochester, New York, local who plays his saxophone in an outdoor market for passersby every day. Told through simple sentences and sound effects, the story immerses young readers in the busy city life. There is a lot to unpack in this book around socio-economic status as Hosea, a white-bearded black man, passes a light-skinned neighbor kid, Nate, who plays pretend trumpet to him. Hosea's only stated goal is to make 'enough' money, but the text leaves readers wondering what he needs money for. Locals flock to Hosea as he plays through the sunshine and rain. When Hosea has 'enough' money he heads back to present readers with a pleasant surprise ending and a sweet reminder of the kindness that seemed to embody Hosea Missouri Taylor Jr., who died in 2016. An author's note closes the book, offering a brief biography and sharing the immense impact he had on those around him. Evans employs a bright color palette and leaves that whoosh with swirls of faint color through the pages to connect readers to Hosea's music. Both a heartfelt eulogy and a musical inspiration for a whole new generation of young readers." --Kirkus

"Hosea Missouri Taylor, Jr., a Rochester, NY, resident and saxophone player, is brought to life by Blasi and Evans through a fictionalized example of his openhearted giving. A day in the life of the street musician relates the musical legacy he bestowed upon his community. One morning, Hosea packs up his instrument and heads toward the bus, encountering his neighbors, a father and son, raking leaves. The boy pretends his rake handle is a trumpet and 'plays' a few notes as Hosea encourages him: 'Keep practicin', my man!' Hosea continues to the public market where he plays his saxophone for a group of people with the thought that 'maybe--just maybe--he would earn enough today.' Readers are left to wonder what he plans to use the money for and are rewarded at the story's end by the man's thoughtfulness. Large, pastel illustrations fill the pages and the text changes font size and color throughout, adding movement to the tale. Though Hosea passed away in 2016, his gift of music lives on in the people he inspired."-- Booklist