MY DAD IS A DJ
In a nutshell: After his DJ dad moves out, Trevor has to navigate both their relationship and his changing taste in music.
Trevor's dad is a DJ, and he always picks the best music—tunes jivin’, beat drivin’, high fivin’!—he’s DJ Dap Daddy! But after his parents split up and Dad moves out, Trevor feels like the pitch doesn't fit between them. Trevor has his own music now—hip-hop—and Dad can't seem to let go of his old soul favorites. As the end-of-year dance approaches, Trevor and his father will have to find their new groove to get the party started. This is a hip-hoppin’, beat boppin’, not stoppin’ story of a father and son's shared love of music and each other.
"This original take on a family dealing with the strains of divorce simultaneously celebrates Black identity and the culture of music." Excerpt from Booklist
"Music helps a father and son renew their bond after a period of change leaves them out of sync in this emotionally honest story." Excerpt from Publishers Weekly
"This is a realistic story of a child coming-of-age ... In this worthwhile father-son story, music is the tie that binds." Excerpt from Kirkus
A Tender Handling of a Tough Topic
I always check out the dedication page in the books I read. The words can tell me volumes about authors and why they sent their creations into the world. This is the case with My Dad is a DJ, written by National Book Award winner Katherine Erskine and Keith Henry Brown, and also illustrated by Brown. Katherine Erskine dedicates the book to, “…kids whose families change.” Her message to those children is, “Your folks still love you.” Page by page, the book portrays a reassurance of that love. At the beginning of the story, we see Trevor and his DJ dad connecting over music. Evenings, Trevor would listen to his father’s radio show then wait up for his return, at which point the two would eat Rocky Road ice cream, share ear buds, and listen to Earth, Wind and Fire. These great details convey the intimacy between the father and son. All that changes when Trevor’s father moves out. Trevor makes a new friend, develops a different taste in music, prefers different food, and feels as if he’s growing into a different person. Trevor believes that he and his father are drifting away from each other. In his dedication, Keith Henry Brown says, “To all those magnificent single women who brought up all these fine boys to be extraordinary men.” In the story, when Trevor wonders if his close relationship with his father is gone forever, his mother urges him to reach out to his father, saying, “You and your dad need to find your new groove.” Trevor and his father do find a new groove via approaching music in a collaborative way, with Trevor adding voice-overs, upbeat tempos, beat boxing and scratching to his father’s classic songs. The result? A school dance party where both the kids and adults groove to the newly mixed tunes. Everyone is happy, including Trevor’s father. For the first time ever, he invites Trevor to DJ the dance with him. Keith Henry Brown is the creative director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. His lifelong love of music reverberates on every page, with shout outs to great musicians and terrific songs. He is the father of two sons and says that much of his writing is based on his relationship with them. This is a moving and entertaining book that takes a realistic look on a tough subject and does so in a warm and reassuring way.
Reviewer: Deborah M. Prum, award winning author, editor and teacher.
Fun Facts About MY DAD IS A DJ
Here are the songs mentioned in the book -- how many of them do you know?
Stand by Me
It's the Same Old Song
I Just Called to Say I Love You
We Are Family