Winner of a Eureka Gold Award
A 2016 Top Ten on ALA's Amelia Bloomer List
"More than just a history of the band, this takes on a larger picture, including Jim Crow laws and how the Sweethearts helped break down both gender and racial barriers....An appealing piece of American History."
"The infectious joy of swing music comes across nicely with details about instrumentation and performances....Readers will certainly want to grab recordings and dance and swing to the sounds."
- Kirkus Reviews
"Deans's text shines a light on the racial, social, and gender boundaries the band crossed, while emphasizing the bond of sisterhood that these girls created because of their talent, mutual struggle, and love of swing."
- School Library Journal
"An inspiring story that explores racism, perseverance, acceptance, friendship and, most importantly, girl power.... Deans does a stellar job focusing on the women's accomplishments and successes without minimizing the obstacles and adversity they faced."
- L.A. Parent
Back in 1909, not far from Jackson, Mississippi, Dr. Laurence Clifton Jones opened a special place for orphans named Piney Woods Country Life School. Dr. Jones loved music and wanted the children to love it, too. In 1939 he started a school band that was just for girls, and he called it the Sweethearts. The music the girls played was called swing. It had rhythms and melodies that got people up on their feet to dance. And like all good music, it told stories about how it feels to be alive. After the girls left Piney Woods, the band stayed together and performed around the world. With their enormous talent and joyful music, the Sweethearts chipped away at racist and sexist barriers wherever they went.
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