Jimmy's Rhythm & Blues: The Extraordinary Life of James Baldwin

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Celebrate James Baldwin's one-hundredth birthday anniversary with the first-ever illustrated biography of this legendary writer, orator, activist, and intellectual.

Before he became a writer, James "Jimmy" Baldwin was a young boy from Harlem, New York, who loved stories. He found joy in the rhythm of music, family, and books.

But Jimmy also found the blues, as a Black man living in America.

When he discovered the written word, he discovered true power. Writing gave him a voice. And that voice opened the world to Jimmy. From the publication of the groundbreaking collection of essays The Fire Next Time to his passionate demonstrations during the civil rights movement, Jimmy used his voice fearlessly.

Michelle Meadows, author of Brave Ballerina and Flying High, introduces young readers to the great American novelist, essayist, poet, playwright, orator, and artist James Baldwin, who, with the fire of his pen, dared a nation to dream of a more equitable world filled with love. Brought to life with warm illustrations by Jamiel Law, Jimmy's Rhythm & Blues chronicles the life of an incredible visionary who left an indelible mark on American literature and history.


Jimmy's Rhythm & Blues captures the warmth and brilliance of Baldwin's writing and the tenderness and depth of his soul. Meadows's poetic prose hits all the right notes. -- Renée Watson, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

[An] elegantly rendered work. -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Meadows retraces the career of a brilliant novelist and essayist. -- Booklist

A high-quality introduction to an important figure in American literature. -- Kirkus Reviews

[A] joyful look at Black literary excellence. -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Publisher: HarperCollins
Pub date:
48 pages
Format: Hardcover