The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening (Hardcover)

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By Chris Raschka, Chris Raschka (Illustrator)
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Staff Reviews

With ridiculously great illustrations, Raschka weaves us through the life of Sun Ra as he battles social justice through music and fights for peace with his Sun Ra Arkestra all across the globe. If you didn't know, Sun Ra was from Saturn, so obviously he was drawn to music to help him feel closer to the stars. Even the kiddos need to know that Space Is the Place!

— From Allen


Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka shares his love of jazz great Sun Ra, just in time to mark the centennial of the musician's birth.

Jazz musician Sun Ra (1914-1993) always said that he came from Saturn. Being from another planet, he was naturally intrigued by everything earthly -- especially music, because music is the one thing on Earth most like the stars. Earthlings themselves confused Sun Ra, the way they sorted themselves by color and fought wars against one another. So he made music. And he traveled with other musicians and singers, calling themselves the Sun Ra Arkestra, playing, singing, and dancing for people all over the planet. Because music, he said, is what holds us all together. Join acclaimed author-illustrator Chris Raschka in celebrating a legend of the jazz world who was truly one of a kind.

About the Author

Chris Raschka has received the Caldecott Medal twice, for The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norman Juster and for A Ball for Daisy, which he wrote and illustrated. He is the acclaimed illustrator of many books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Book Yo! Yes?; I Pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson; Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales; The Grasshopper's Song by Nikki Giovanni; and A Poke in the I, A Kick in the Head, and A Foot in the Mouth, all edited by Paul B. Janeczko. Chris Raschka lives in New York City.

Praise For…

This tribute to the innovative jazz keyboardist and band leader synthesizes brilliant paintings with a narrative that strikes just the right chords for its audience. ... Incorporating musical notation sheets into luminous watercolor-and-ink pictures, Raschka repeats their horizontal lines in piano strings, library bookshelves, city blocks and the very rectangularity of many compositions. The joyful palette—yellow, red, blue-green, sienna—and wildly gestural black ink celebrate Sun Ra’s unique spirit. Unequivocally stellar.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Raschka’s chief metaphor is a rich one: Sun Ra (born Herman P. Blount) fancied himself as Saturn born, and thus his quizzical questioning of the world is depicted extraterrestrially... As an experience... [this book] definitely swings.

Raschka pictures Sun Ra and his Arkestra orchestra in chromatic gouache daubs and silhouette-black lowlights, bringing to mind Romare Bearden’s sultry palette and mellifluous collages. Raschka acknowledges the social and musical influences on the innovative artist... [and] provides a selective list of recordings, encouraging readers to consider Sun Ra’s nonconformity and genius alongside a first listen to his polyphonic music.
—Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780763658069
ISBN-10: 0763658065
Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication Date: May 13th, 2014
Pages: 40
Language: English