eighteen-year-old Avery, aspiring singer, is heard by Lester
"Pres" Young, Count Basie's tenor saxophonist. Pres
recommends her to Basie, and Avery is whisked into the jazz
life. Years later, with several hit records to her credit,
Avery settles in Greenwich Village. But her life takes a
sharp turn when she meets Karl, a Jewish refugee from
“Carlon packs an entire world into those short
pages. And what a marvelous world it is: from Harlem and the
Jazz Age, to Southern racism, Nazi hatred, and finally
Chinese-Jewish culture. The sounds of jazz, of nightclubs
and dance halls and the swinging beat of New York, are
written so eloquently that the reader can almost feel the
rhythm rumble off the pages like an improvised jazz note.
This is an incredible novel that works as both a lesson on
jazz music and the people who created it, and as a window
into American racism and hatred. A fast read, but a
don’t-miss, must-read book.”
—Historical Novel Society
"Carlon covers an unbelievable amount of ground in
one novel. . . . Part jazz panegyric, part world history
tour, altogether readable."
“A deftly crafted work of fiction that accurately
conjures up an historic yesteryear of American popular
culture and the political climate of the time, Girl
Singer is an extraordinary and entertaining read from
beginning to end.
Very highly recommended.”
"A fast-paced narrative. . .
. compelling and intense reading, by turns funny, tender,
and horrifying, Girl
Singer is the
real deal—a captivating, well-told tale."
Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist
"Carlon is a natural heir of
Robert Louis Stevenson. If you like good fiction, you'll
—Brian Morton, The
Penguin Guide to Jazz
"Carlon is a unique
educational force, bringing young readers into the pleasures
and drama of jazz."
"An arresting and wonderful
story that communicates—through a deep relationship between
a singer and a Holocaust survivor—the joy of music,
self-discovery, pain, and racism."
—Dick Golden, host of
George Washington University Presents American Jazz
"Avery's story tackles hard
topics—racism, women's rights—which transcend time and
place. A tale with deep resonance and educational force,
that will keep readers turning pages."
executive director, the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts
About the Author
is a thirty-year
veteran English and journalism teacher at the high and
middle school levels, and the author of the middle-grade
novelsRiding on Duke's Train and Travels
with Louis. He is a frequent contributor to
Girl Singer •
Trade paperback, $15.95
Published by Leapfrog
Press LLC •
Distributed to the trade
by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution
Watch Mick Carlon's TEDx talk: How Louis Armstrong
Transformed the Twentieth Century