When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana
When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana

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Annotation: Looks at the life and accomplishments of a rock legend who created a unique sound that fused American blues, rock, and jazz traditions with the sound of Latin American and African music.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #182069
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Atheneum
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Ramirez, Jose,
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-534-40413-9 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-4405-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-534-40413-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-4405-8
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2017007274
Dimensions: 24 x 31 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Mahin's staccato second-person text ("Los congas rumbled into your chest. There was magic in their beat...") lends immediacy to his account of Santana's youth, touching on migration, racial discrimination, and poverty in a manner both accessible and deep. Ramirez's full-bleed Mexican folk artinfluenced acrylic and enamel-marker illustrations expertly capture mood and propel the narrative forward. An author's note contextualizes Santana's place in American popular culture. Bib.
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
From the three-way scrimmage among his great-aunt, his father, and his mother for the right to name him—his mother won—to his growth as a musician, Carlos yearns to hear the song of angels.Instrument after instrument fails to resonate within his heart until the chords of a guitar stand his arm hairs on end. "An angel's breath?" But not even his beloved guitar can drown out the English-speaking bullies in San Francisco schools, so he runs away and returns to Tijuana. His family, however disagrees. They'd left Mexico for a better life, and they will not let Carlos stay behind. Bit by bit, the city's diverse cultural harmonies become one: "the soul of the blues,…the brains of jazz,…the energy of rock and roll…the slow heat of Afro-Cuban drums and the cilantro-scented sway of the music you'd grown up with." The Santana Blues Band plays through Carlos' homesickness, plays through Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, plays through Vietnam's destruction and America's unrest, until, in front of 400,000 people in Woodstock, the angels finally sing—not to but within Carlos. Ramírez's double-page-spread acrylic-and-enamel-marker images evoke the vibrant electric energy of Huichol yarn art. The years denoting milestones in Carlos' story subtly blend into the multicolored pages. Mahin's second-person lyrical narrative unites the disparate elements that ultimately became Santana. A musical journey perfectly aimed at young readers' excitement to know what they will be. (author's note, bibliography, discography) (Picture book/biography. 6-11)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* As he did in his 2017 biography of Muddy Waters, Mahin celebrates the music of a popular artist while delving into the soul from which it springs. In the case of Carlos Santana, according to Mahin, it is his deep desire to make music so glorious the angels would listen, just as his father's violin music seemed to fill the world with "magic and love." But throughout his life, Santana has struggled. As a youth, he tried several instruments unsuccessfully. His mother moved him to Tijuana, where he dressed in costume and played popular songs on the violin for tourist coins. It was there that he heard guitar music and learned to play. In exhilarating language, peppered with Spanish words d often invoking angels e narrative brings Santana to San Francisco as his musical abilities, his sense of self, and a growing awareness about injustice fuse just as the various musical influences lues, jazz, ­Afro-Caribbean se to make his sound. The story ends at Woodstock, but an afterword chronicles the rest. Mahin's words match well with Ramirez's intense, beautifully colored folk art, a mosaic of brown faces, young and old. The pictures demand second, even third looks whether Santana is playing at Aquatic Park or sweeping the floor at Tick Tock Burgers. A biography fitting of the man's music.
Word Count: 1,412
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.0 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 198345 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.0 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q75410
Lexile: 610L

Winner of a Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor and a Robert F. Sibert Honor!

Celebrate music icon Carlos Santana in this vibrant, rhythmic picture book from the author of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters.

Carlos Santana loved to listen to his father play el violín. It was a sound that filled the world with magic and love and feeling and healing—a sound that made angels real. Carlos wanted to make angels real, too. So he started playing music.

Carlos tried el clarinete and el violín, but there were no angels. Then he picked up la guitarra. He took the soul of the Blues, the brains of Jazz, and the energy of Rock and Roll, and added the slow heat of Afro-Cuban drums and the cilantro-scented sway of the music he’d grown up with in Mexico. There were a lot of bands in San Francisco but none of them sounded like this. Had Carlos finally found the music that would make his angels real?

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