Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Memoirs, Biographies, and Constructed Narratives Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] A Musician From Saturn in “The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra”

"The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening."

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

One of the things I love about our reading themes is that they lead me to stories that I would not otherwise have known. Sun Ra is a totally unknown-to-me jazz musician. Thanks to Chris Raschka, I now have another musician to introduce to my 16-year-old music student daughter.

The Cosmobiography Of Sun Ra

Written and Illustrated by Chris Raschka
Published by Candlewick Press (2014)
ISBN-10: 0763658065
ISBN-13: 9780763658069
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Herman P. “Sonny” Blount was born in Alabama in 1914. From a very young boy, the man who would eventually become known as Sun Ra had been enamoured with music, “the thing about the earth that was most like the stars.”

As a musical prodigy who could notate and play the music he heard from the radio at the age of eleven, he seemed to be somewhat apart from everyone else, almost like he was from a different planet (Saturn, in fact). It was good that he eventually found his ‘tribe’ (known as the Arkestra) when he came of age, and did the one thing he was born to do, notwithstanding the colour of his skin.

Chris Raschka has outdone himself in creating something delightfully psychedelic yet remaining accessible to young readers. The brightness of the colours, the splash of joy in the page, the lilting rhythm of the text all contributed to something as wonderfully surreal as a cosmobiography of a jazz player who was clearly touched by the stars, and totally out of this world.

I found this youtube link of Sun Ra and his Arkestra playing live in London. Hope you enjoy it!

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] A Musician From Saturn in “The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra”

  1. This was a perfect style to represent the eccentricities of the subject!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, those illustrations! This looks fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

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