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Django for Kids

Django: World’s Greatest Guitarist, a children’s book about the legendary Gypsy jazz musician, written by Bonnie Christensen is published by Macmillan

Illustration by Bonnie Chrstensen from Django: World's Greatest Guitarist
Illustration by Bonnie Chrstensen from Django: World's Greatest Guitarist

Author-illustrator of a popular children’s book on Woody Guthrie, Bonnie Christensen has taken on the story of another iconic figure in music-the legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt. The 32-page book, aimed at kids aged 5-9, tells the story of Django’s childhood and how he overcame abandonment by his father and injuries sustained in a fire to become one of the most influential guitarists in jazz. The colorful illustrations in Django: World’s Greatest Guitarist show the young gypsy guitarist proving his mettle against all odds. Despite his early death, it’s an upbeat tale and likely to be the first time a child would have heard of the swing jazz guitarist, whose 100th birthday was last week.

Christensen, who coincidentally shares a birthday with Reinhardt, said that she came up with Django as a subject because she loved his music and she was drawn to the drama in his life story. “First of all, I love doing biographies, but only when they have a great story,” Christensen explained. “I noodle around on the violin and I am a big fan of Stephane Grappelli, so I thought about doing something on him, but his life wasn’t that dramatic. So I thought about Django and as I was looking through the bios, the story of the fire jumped out. Not only had he overcome this disability, but he created something fantastic that hadn’t been heard before.”

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