Sometimes the most interesting stories surround places and the people who fill them. There’s nothing quite like music to bring people together, as proved by the Apollo in Harlem, as brought to life once more by author Ted Fox and illustrator James Otis Smith.
The Story: In 1933, a theater started with a singular dream: to be a haven for people of color, a place where thy could hone, share, and take pleasure in their considerable talents. From performers like Jay-Z in 2007, Bo Didley in 1955, to Paul McCartney 2010, this is a place that has hosted the best of the best – those whom modern audiences may have forgotten, those whom history has revered and will likely to revere for ages to come – but it came from humble origins. Though it may not have started as a location of rebellion, it quickly grew into a haven for performers of color. Here music evolved as dancers and singers took the stage, turning the place from a place of questionable nature to a well reputed establishment. It’s story doesn’t end in the past though – the story continues as the theater continues to evolve and grow even today.
Entertaining, well documented, and cleverly packed with photos of real documents, performers, and more, this is the nonfiction read that readers deserve. You’ll find yourself fully immersed in this tale of what it takes to do more than just survive – but thrive.
Parental Advisories: This book is definitely marketed towards an adult audience, but is pleasantly clean, with only the occasional mild cuss (though there are scattered cuss words and topics throughout that parents may want to keep kids from). I definitely think young adult audiences could enjoy this book depending on their maturity and parents’ comfort level. Read at your own disclosure.