If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong
Illustrated by Leonard Jenkins
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002 Ages 4-8.
Paperback: 978-0-618-25076-9 $6.95
In New Orleans where music is everywhere, young Louis Armstrong longs for a horn. One wild New Year’s Eve, he gets into trouble and ends up in the Colored Waifs’ Home. There the music teacher there takes an interest in him but refuses to give him a cornet until he has proven himself. In the end Louis marches down Liberty Street with a brass band, a battered but shiny cornet at his lips.
red star“This vibrant portrait of the jazz great’s youth is one children will return to again and again.” —Publishers Weekly
“Orgill’s telling has immediacy … and moments (e.g., when Louis snags himself a nickname) that are electric.” —Kirkus Reviews
On New Year’s Eve, the city of New Orleans celebrated with bang and big time. Oh, the noise! Firecrackers, hot jazz music pouring out of the honky tonks, and pistols. People shot off anything that was handy, just for the fun of it.
Louis and his gang were singing on the corner of Perdido and Rampart Streets, collecting pennies by the capful, when a boy fired a six-shooter from across the street.
“Go get him, Dipper!” said Big Nose Sidney. Louis pulled out an old .38 that he had found in the bottom of his mother’s trunk and shot it six times in the air. The boy ran off like a rabbit, and Louis and his buddies fell down laughing.
Out of nowhere a pair off strong arms grabbed Louis and shoved him into a black horsedrawn wagon with a little bitty grilled window. The wagon took Louis to jail.
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