Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

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Product Details
$20.95  $19.48
Lee & Low Books
Publish Date
10.6 X 8.9 X 0.4 inches | 0.88 pounds

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About the Author

Katheryn Russell-Brown is a Professor of Law and the Director of the Center for Race and Race Relations at the University of Florida. She grew up in a family of music lovers, where jazz was an integral part of the sounds of daily life. A radio broadcast in 2008 about Liston inspired Russell-Brown to research the musician and eventually to write Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, her first picture book. Russell-Brown lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her family. Visit her online at

Frank Morrison has illustrated numerous award-winning books, including the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor winner Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, published by Lee & Low Books. Before becoming an illustrator, Morrison was a graffiti artist and b-boy. Morrison lives with his family in Georgia. You can learn more about him at


* "Russell-Brown's debut text has an innate musicality, mixing judicious use of onomatopoeia with often sonorous prose. Morrison's sinuous, exaggerated lines are the perfect match for Melba's story. . . Readers will agree that 'Melba Doretta Liston was something special.'" -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Music lovers will enjoy this picture-book biography of Melba Liston (1926-1999), child prodigy and virtuoso trombonist who collaborated with most 20th century jazz greats. An excellent match of breezy text and dynamic illustrations tells an exhilarating story. . . A celebration of the talent and success of a little-known African American female musician, this title will enrich library collections." -- School Library Journal, starred review

* "Staccato rhythms pepper the fluid prose . . . Morrison's oil paintings practically sway with a jazz beat, though somber moments crop up, too: the shadows on Liston's face signify the trials of life on the road. A final image showing long-limbed Liston in profile as she plays under the glow of stage lights is exquisite." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"In a smoothly passed narrative, this picture-book biography surveys the full life arc of a relatively unknown and unique jazz master. Brimming with inherent and inescapable enthusiasm, the oil-painting illustrations are the cat's pajamas, with brassy colors and jazzy perspectives that slide across the long pages, like Melba's own instrument." -- Booklist

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Honor - American Library Association (ALA)
NAACP Image Awards Nominee - National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

ALSC Notable Children's Books - American Library Association (ALA)
Amelia Bloomer Book List - American Library Association (ALA)
Best Books - Kirkus Reviews
Best Books of the Year - School Library Journal
Best Children's Books of the Year Outstanding - Bank Street College of Education
Best Multicultural Books - Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature
Best of the Best Books - Chicago Public Library
Black-Eyed Susan Award - Maryland Association of School Librarians
CCBC Choices - Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)
Delaware Diamonds Awards - Diamond State Reading Association
Eureka! Nonfiction Children's Book Award - California Reading Association
Louisiana Young Readers' Choice - State Library of Louisiana
Notable Books for a Global Society - International Literacy Association (ILA)
Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Recommended - National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)