Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson's Journey to the Stars (Hardcover)

Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson's Journey to the Stars Cover Image
By Gary Golio, E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)
$17.99
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Description


The poignant story of Blind Willie Johnson--the legendary Texas musician whose song "Dark Was the Night" was included on the Voyager I space probe's Golden Record

Willie Johnson was born in 1897, and from the beginning he loved to sing--and play his cigar box guitar. But his childhood was interrupted when he lost his mother and his sight. How does a blind boy make his way in the world? Fortunately for Willie, the music saved him and brought him back into the light. His powerful voice, combined with the wailing of his slide guitar, moved people. Willie made a name for himself performing on street corners all over Texas. And one day he hit it big when he got a record deal and his songs were played on the radio. Then in 1977, his song--"Dark Was the Night"--was chosen to light up the darkness when it was launched into space on the Voyager I space probe's famous Golden Record. His immortal song was selected for the way it expresses the loneliness humans all feel, while reminding us we're not alone.

About the Author


Gary Golio is a fine artist, musician, and psychotherapist. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller JIMI: Sounds Like A Rainbow--A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix and many other award-winning books. He lives in Briarcliff Manor, New York.

E. B. Lewis is the acclaimed illustrator of more than seventy picture books, including Each Kindness, The Other Side, and Caldecott Honor book Coming on Home Soon (all by Jacqueline Woodson); Preaching to the Chickens (by Jabari Asim); and several Coretta Scott King Award winners, such as Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman and The Bat Boy and His Violin. He taught art in public schools for twelve years, and currently teaches at the University of Arts in Philadelphia. He lives in Folsom, New Jersey.

Praise For…


* “When NASA scientists compiled a recording of sounds to send into space representing Earth and humanity, those sounds included thunder, crickets, classical pieces, and a short wordless song by musician ‘Blind Willie’ Johnson. . . . The second-person narrative is brief but evocative. . . . Lewis’ illustrations have a soft, blurred effect to them, conveying both the bygone time and Johnson’s vision loss. . . . An ode to a too-little-discussed musician and an excellent introduction to his amazing musical talent.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* “Lewis’s expressive watercolors depict the subject’s humble country beginnings as well as the joy he felt when he sang and played. The book’s recurrent theme of light is captured in the bright yellow wash throughout. The story of Johnson’s life is framed with vivid spreads of a night sky illuminated by stars, referencing both the Voyager’s mission and the song title. A beautiful, timely tribute to a little-known musician and space ­venture.”—School Library Journal, starred review

* “The inclusion of Johnson’s song ‘Dark Was the Night’ on a recording aboard NASA’s Voyager frames this biography, handled with artistry by Golio and illustrated by Lewis in dazzling watercolors. . . . The volume movingly commemorates Johnson and his music, which ‘shined a light in the darkness and finally touched the stars.’”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The subject of this beautiful biography is blues musician Blind Willie Johnson, whose soulful singing and slide guitar playing so moved people that his song ‘Dark Was the Night’ was included on the Golden Record that NASA sent into space in 1977. . . . A simple, inspiring story of one man’s commitment to lifting up himself and those around him with his music. ‘It was the sound of one human being reaching out to all the others, telling them not to be afraid of the dark.’ Imagery of light and darkness runs throughout the text, both spiritually and literally in Johnson’s blindness, and it is also skillfully evoked in Lewis’ illustrations, which set stars sparkling in the deep blue of outer space and sends gold radiating from Johnson’s guitar as he plays, smiling all the time. An American treasure who shouldn’t go unsung.”—Booklist

“Lewis’s watercolors provide the perfect complement to Golio’s spare second-person prose. . . . The contrast between the bright yellows of Johnson’s Texas birthplace and the star-filled vistas of deep space parallel Johnson’s loss of vision as a young boy. . . . Golio and Lewis trace the path of Johnson’s musical career: his first cigar box guitar, singing in church, learning to play slide with the edge of his pocket knife—all leading to the day Johnson lays down his first recordings. Back matter reveals the challenges of writing a biography of someone about whose early life little is known, and also gives more detailed information about NASA’s Golden Record and the Voyager 1 space probe.”—Horn Book
Product Details
ISBN: 9781524738884
ISBN-10: 1524738883
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication Date: August 25th, 2020
Pages: 32
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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