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ABOUT: Join Mimsy and her granddaughter Joy Ann on a fantastical adventure via Mimsy’s positively peculiar porch full of stories! They’ll journey back in time to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair to look for the King of Ragtime himself — Scott Joplin.
STORY BACKGROUND: My grandmother played the piano. Loudly. So loudly, in fact, that she rarely noticed her granddaughter (me) banging on her front door as she pounded out Scott Joplin’s ragtime compositions on the aged upright piano inside. I remember listening intently for her to turn a page (which usually causes a decrease in speed or a drop in volume) so I could get her attention, but she always seemed to roar through page turns without missing a beat. So, I would settle down next to her door and listen. I loved to hear her play Joplin.
Scott Joplin was unique among the African American musical greats I knew of as a child: greats like the opera singer Leontyne Price (a fellow Mississippian!) and spirituals arranger Moses Hogan. Joplin’s ragtime compositions were fun, peppy, even exuberant! As such, I hope you’ll find “Mimsy and Me: The Remarkable Ragtime Rhythm” fun and exuberant as well.
However, with all its exuberance, I do not intend for “Mimsy and Me: The Remarkable Ragtime Rhythm” to gloss over our nation’s historical racism evident in the musical context of that time period. Instead, I hope that this children’s book not only celebrates a unique African American musical legacy but also provides a springboard to help engage children with our nation’s racial history — a history that includes not only the tragedies of slavery and racism but also the triumphs of African Americans whose God-given talents became incredible legacies for all to enjoy.