[tuneful review] Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Song of the World by Gary Golio and Rudy Gutierrez

“There’s a melody in everything. And once you find the melody, then you connect immediately with the heart. Because sometimes English or Spanish, Swahili or any language gets in the way. But nothing penetrates the heart faster than the melody.” ~ Carlos Santana

Just as there are celebrated rock singers whose vocals are instantly recognizable (Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks), there are electric guitarists whose signature stylings and timbres we’d know just about anywhere.

Carlos Santana is rightfully ranked among the greatest rock guitarists of all time, alongside such masters as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. When you hear the pure, piercing tone of his guitar as it caresses a melodic line (oh, those amazing solo riffs and sustained notes!), there’s no mistaking whose fiery, impassioned “voice” you’re hearing.

Santana pioneered a unique fusion of rock, blues, jazz, and Latin, African and Cuban rhythms in the late 60’s and early 70’s — a distinctive sound that continues to electrify audiences today. With early hits like “Black Magic Woman” and “Evil Ways,” the rare addition of percussion instruments (congas, timbales) to guitar and organ flavored the music with an old world, positively primal feel. The aptly named, strictly instrumental “Soul Sacrifice,” with its driving polyrhythms and rousing solos, pulsates with an energy that fairly inhabits the listener, taking him/her on a transformative musical journey.

Though I’ve enjoyed Santana’s music since college, I knew very little about Carlos Santana’s childhood, so I was especially pleased to see that New York Times bestselling music biographer Gary Golio had recently published Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Song of the World (Henry Holt, 2018). Illustrated by Pura Belpré Honor and Américas Award recipient Rudy Gutierrez (who created Santana’s iconic Shaman CD cover), this captivating picture book describes Carlos’s early years in Mexico as he seeks a personal, authentic mode of musical expression.

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[review] A Movie in My Pillow/Una película en mi almohada by Jorge Argueta and Elizabeth Gómez

Art by Elizabeth Gómez

 

SOUP OF STARS

Many nights
we would go to bed
without eating

We would look up
at the stars —
the stars were our soup

 

I first became acquainted with Jorge Argueta’s work through his delectable cooking poem books (Sopa de frijoles/Bean Soup, Arroz con leche/Rice Pudding, Guacamole, Tamalitos, Salsa). Of course it felt like he had written these books just for me — how could I resist the playful language, mouthwatering imagery, and charming magical realism? Each poem, a spirited, sensory feast with a lasting, distinctive flavor, made me hunger for more.

 

Jorge is one of the original Alphabet Soup Poetry hotTEAS!

 

Two years ago, I discovered another dimension of Jorge’s brilliance when he wrote about the heart-wrenching plight of Central American migrant families in Somos como las nubes/We Are Like the Clouds (Groundwood Books, 2016). Winner of the 2017 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, these poems express the child immigrant’s point of view and show how an arduous journey marked by danger and uncertainty is also a testament to courage, hope, resilience, and optimism.

 

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[review + recipe] All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah by Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky

When I was nine, there was nothing I wanted more than to belong to the All-of-a-Kind Family.

I loved the idea of having four sisters, all of us wearing our white pinafores as we traipsed to the library Friday afternoons and spent our pennies for treats on Rivington Street. Would I get a warm sweet potato like Ella, hot chick peas like Sarah, or candied fruit on sticks like Charlotte and Gertie? I don’t think I’d opt for a fat, juicy sour pickle like Henny did. 🙂

I’m guessing most of us who loved Sydney Taylor’s classic AOAKF books imagined ourselves as one of these girls, perhaps the one closest to our own age. But since we got to know them all so well, we were probably able to find parts of ourselves in each of them.

Months ago, when I first learned that Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky were publishing a new picture book based on Taylor’s series, I reread all five books and fell in love with them all over again. So wonderful to feel the comforting embrace of this close-knit family and immerse myself in their turn-of-the-century world. I was once again charmed and captivated by Taylor’s writing, appreciating anew her ability to speak of and to a child’s heart with such candor and truth.

But I did wonder how Emily and Paul would be able to create the same kind of magic in a 40-page picture book. I needn’t have worried. I love All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah. In fact, it’s my favorite food-related picture book of 2018!

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Molly Hatch is always good for a pottery fix. Though I enjoy her other collections (heritage, vintage farm, bluebird), I’m partial to her ‘good thoughts’ pieces. No surprise, since I have a decided weakness for dishes that talk to me.

Words + ceramics = bliss.

Molly Hatch ceramics = charming, optimistic, refreshing, classic + contemporary.

Visiting her website to check on new arrivals is decidedly dangerous, since there will always be something I can’t live without, whether it’s a mug, gift book, muffin pan, cute throw rug, or piece of stationery. Remember when I featured Bouquet in a Book and the Teacup Collection Note Cards? Yep, I’m a goner.

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2. New Book Alert!! Eight big cheers for Love, Agnes: Postcards from an Octopus by Irene Latham and Thea Baker (Millbrook Press, 2018)!! Just released October 1st, this unique picture book features interesting facts about the giant Pacific octopus in an engaging story told via a series of postcards.

Agnes has a beak that can crush bones and arms and stretch wide as a car, —but that doesn’t make her a monster! After she comes across a postcard, Agnes, a giant Pacific octopus, strikes up a correspondence with various other creatures below— and above —the waves. Readers will delight in this unlikely introduction to the octopus life cycle.

Love, Agnes has received a glowing review from Kirkus, which deemed it “the most engaging of the recent wave of octopus stories, for reading aloud or reading alone.”

Irene is celebrating all month long with octopus poems and art at her blog Live Your Poem. Check it out!!

Congratulations, Irene and Thea!!

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[guest post + recipe] Margo Sorenson, Secrets in Translation, and a Sip of Limoncello

Buongiorno! Come va?

Let’s escape to beautiful Positano on the Amalfi Coast. 🙂

Today I’m happy to welcome back award winning author Margo Sorenson, whose brand new YA/Crossover Adult Novel, Secrets in Translation (Fitzroy Books, 2018), officially hits shelves on Friday, October 19.

Limoncello, the popular lemon liqueur from Southern Italy, plays an integral role in this captivating story, a delightful blend of travel, culture, mystery, coming-of-age, and romance — ahhh, amore!

Thanks, Margo, for telling us more about limoncello and sharing your friend’s recipe. Everyone, lift your glasses, take a refreshing sip and enjoy!

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