The True Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band
What happened when a former slave took beat-up old instruments and gave them to a bunch of orphans? Thousands of futures got a little brighter and a great American art form was born.
In 1891, Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins opened his orphanage in Charleston, South Carolina. He soon had hundreds of children and needed a way to support them. Jenkins asked townspeople to donate old band instruments—some of which had last played in the hands of Confederate soldiers in the Civil War. He found teachers to show the kids how to play. Soon the orphanage had a band. And what a band it was.
The Jenkins Orphanage Band caused a sensation on the streets of Charleston. People called the band’s style of music "rag"—a rhythm inspired by the African American people who lived on the South Carolina and Georgia coast. The children performed as far away as Paris and London, and they earned enough money to support the orphanage that still exists today. They also helped launch the music we now know as jazz.
Hey, Charleston! is the story of the kind man who gave America “some rag” and so much more.
|Interest Level||Grade 2 - Grade 5|
|Reading Level||Grade 2|
|Genre||Nonfiction, Picture Books, Social Studies|
|Category||Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Class, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Carolrhoda Books ®|
|Number of Pages||32|
|Reading Counts! Level||8.3|
- Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Nominee
- South Carolina Book Award Nominee
- Jefferson Cup Award Honorable Mention
- Carter G. Woodson Book Award
- Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
- Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices
- Missouri State Teacher's Association Reading Circle Selection
“A fascinating piece of history, complemented by Bootman’s hazy full-bleed paintings.” —Booklist
“Rockwell (Truck Stop) keeps the story focused and lively, with just enough social and emotional framing (Reverend Jenkins ‘was always looking for a way to turn bad into good’ is a recurring refrain) to add resonance. Bootman’s (Love Twelve Miles Long) sepia tones and military blues beautifully evoke a distant time.” —Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
“Rockwell’s informative text is lively and accessible, and Bootman’s realistic, full-spread paintings capture the era and energy of the musicians and onlookers dancing and clapping to the beat.” —School Library Journal
“Rockwell relates her tale in a fast-paced narrative that will hopefully encourage readers to turn into listeners. Bootman’s emotive, full-bleed artwork provides a lively accompaniment. A notable look at a little-known piece of jazz history.” —Kirkus Reviews
Author: Anne Rockwell
Anne Rockwell is the author of Hey, Charleston!:The True Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band, which was a Junior Library Guild Selection. She lives in Stamford, Connecticut.
Illustrator: Colin Bootman
Colin Bootman is the award-winning illustrator of many books for children, including Young Frederick Douglass, Almost to Freedom, and The Steel Pan Man of Harlem—which he also wrote. He and his books have received numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, the Schneider Family Book Award, and the Teacher’s Choice Award. Born in Trinidad, Mr. Bootman came to the United States at the age of seven and found that art helped him cope with his new environment. Once a young artist himself, Mr. Bootman hopes his art can encourage children to follow their dreams and embrace their passions.
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What happened when a former slave took beat-up old instruments and gave them to a bunch of orphans? Thousands of futures got a little brighter and a great American art form was born. In 1891, Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins opened his orphanage in Charleston, South Carolina. View available downloads →