I See the Rhythm

I See the Rhythm, Toyomi Igus and Michele Wood






 I see the rhythm.
           I see the rhythm of our beginnings
I feel the pulse of a people and a
land in harmony.
I hear the legends told by the drum,
the beats of our beliefs, the music of
our ancient history.

Beginning with the roots of black music in Africa and continuing on to contemporary hip hop, I See the Rhythm takes us on a musical journey through time. Readers are invited to feel the rhythm of work songs on a southern plantation, to see the rhythm of jazz from a balcony in New Orleans, to dance to the rhythm of swing at the Savoy in Harlem, and to rejoice to the rhythm of gospel from a church pew on a Sunday morning.

Each stunning spread includes art, poetic text, a description of the music style, and a time line of selected historical events, and encompasses the spirit of the time and place where the music was born. Toyomi Igus’s lyrical poems, matched with artist Michele Wood’s daring vision, captures the feel of each style of music and pays tribute to the musicians who gave the music life.

Praise for I See The Rhythm

“This ambitious picture book from the creators of Going Back Home offers a sweeping visual history of African Americans through music, from the pulsating drums of Africa… right on up to present-day rap and hip hop… Impeccably crafted, this visually exciting and lyrically memorable tour de force is not to be missed.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“… the pictures broadcast joy, innovation, and exuberance in the face of systematic oppression.” —Kirkus Starred Review

” This children’s book is an inspiring celebration of African American music and its far-reaching impact on the world.” —Multicultural Education

“This compact picture book is infinitely rich, wide, and deep, showing how one musical form influenced the next.” —Children’s Book Award Annual


Coretta Scott King Award
Multicultural Children’s Publication Award
American Book Award
Jane Addams Picture Book Award

32 pages • Ages 6 and up
10 ¾” x 8 ¾”
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-89239-212-4
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-89239-151-6

Published by Lee & Low Books/Children’s Book Press

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