‘Swing Sisters’ Offers Musical Inspiration

By Julie Kertes

Swing Sisters Positive ParentingWomen’s History month celebrates the great accomplishments of women and reminds us that women rock. My daughter and I recently read a book about a group of women who not only rocked, but could also swing.

“SWING SISTERS: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm” by Karen Deans, illustrated by Joe Cepeda, is an inspiring story that explores racism, perseverance, acceptance, friendship and, most importantly, girl power.

The book tells the story of Laurence Clifton Jones, Ph.D., who in 1909 founded Piney Woods Country Life School for orphaned children in Jackson, Mississippi.

Years later, Jones formed an all-girl swing band of Piney Woods students, called “The Sweethearts.” It was the first all-female band in the U.S. The girls worked tirelessly honing their skills, and soon the band was playing for schools and churches.

When the girls left the school, the band stuck together and eventually grew to include female players of all backgrounds. Despite the racism and sexism prevalent at that time in America, the women continued to tour nationally and internationally and made lifelong friendships that crossed color barriers.

Award-winning Los Angeles illustrator Joe Cepeda captures the spirit of the story, allowing the reader to see every emotion throughout the book. Each page is colorful and bright, with wonderful detail and texture.

Deans does a stellar job focusing on the women’s accomplishments and successes without minimizing the obstacles and adversity they faced. An inspiring read for Women’s History Month.

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