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John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie
A Man, a Trumpet, and a Journey to Bebop

Author: Susan Engle   Illustrator: Luthando Mazibuko
Product Code: DGT
ISBN: 9781618511539
Publisher: Bellwood Press
Availability: In stock


Recipient of a five-star review from Readers' Favorite Book Awards


John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was a jazz musician who pioneered a new style of jazz music, known as bebop, in the 1940s. This book, written for junior youth, chronicles Dizzy’s life, beginning with his childhood in South Carolina, his move to New York City, and his eventual travels around the world. Dizzy Gillespie became a Bahá’í in 1968 and strove to be of service to others through his unique gift in music.


Dizzy once wrote, “The highest role is the role of service to humanity, and if I can make that, then I’ll be happy.” We invite you to open this book and read more about this Change Maker, who left an enduring legacy for the world.


This is the second book in the Change Maker Series, highlighting people connected with the Bahá’í Faith who worked to bring about social change. The first book in the Change Maker Series can be found here.


"In John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie: A Man, a Trumpet, and a Journey to Bebop by Susan Engle and Luthando Mazibuko, we are introduced to one of history’s famous black musicians, John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie, the creator of bebop. We learn that he had a passion for music at an early age. The youngest of ten children, Dizzy was introduced to music by his father, who played multiple instruments. He would also play the piano for his neighbor, Mrs. Harrington. Seeing that the young boy had a gift and was intelligent, Harrington set up a school of sorts to help him learn to read and write. It was Gilespie's elementary school teacher, Miss Alice Wilson, who taught him the tricks of the trombone which eventually led to him playing the trumpet. Despite hard times and struggles growing up, Dizzy never gave up and once he was old enough, he moved from Philadelphia and then to New York. From there the rest is history.


I thought this was a very informative book that could be fun not only for children but adults as well. The illustrations are beautifully done and mesh with the story so well. Illustrator Luthando Mazibuko did a wonderful job creating snapshots from Gillespie’s life. Personally, I have heard of Dizzy Gillespie but other than his name and a few songs, I was clueless going into this book. Author Susan Engle will capture the attention of any reader, young or old in John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie: A Man, a Trumpet, and a Journey to Bebop."

- Tiffany, Ferrell, five-star review from Readers' Favorite Book Awards

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