cover image Song for Jimi: The Story of Guitar Legend Jimi Hendrix

Song for Jimi: The Story of Guitar Legend Jimi Hendrix

Charles R. Smith Jr., illus. by Edel Rodriguez. Holiday House/Porter, $22.99 (56p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4333-8

Smith relays the musical ascent of “git-tar superstar” Jimi Hendrix (1942–1970)—from birth to the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival—evoking in each of five protracted verses, plus an outro and interlude, musical styles that the left-handed guitarist famously melded to create his sound. Following Hendrix through his difficult childhood, military service, and stints in Nashville, New York, and London, blocks of text emphasize the figure’s complicated parental relationships, disinterest in conformity, and dedication to his craft. Digitally enhanced oil-based woodblock ink art centers images of Hendrix’s face and form amid abstract, warm-hued backgrounds that recall band posters and psychedelia. Repeating references to the subject’s Cherokee ancestry are limited to “warrior” stereotypes, and lengthy text matched with recurring imagery may limit reader engagement, but Hendrix fans young and old will appreciate this look at how “Jimi showed the world/ how to kiss the sky.” Back matter includes an author’s note, timeline, discography, and personal playlist. Ages 7–up. (Oct.)