JIMI: Sounds Like A
A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix
written by Gary Golio
illustrated by Javaka Steptoe
Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Who was Jimi Hendrix before he became the greatest electric guitarist of all time? He was
a young boy named James Marshall Hendrix, known as Jimmy and sometimes as
"Buster" (after the actor who played Flash Gordon, an early science fiction film hero)
...and he was in love with sounds and colors.
Why write a story about Jimi's childhood?
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We all grow, like seeds, from the places where we're born and live as children, watered by
the love of family and friends...and sometimes those seeds grow into artists.
Jimi Hendrix was a child who grew up to be a musician. Many people think he was the
greatest rock and roll guitarist who ever lived, and a magician too, making magic with his
music. But he didn't just appear out of thin air like a rabbit out of a hat. The roots of his
music are there in his childhood--if you take the time to look--and that's what
JIMI: Sounds Like A Rainbow is all about.
"I can see,
rainbow is calling to me…"
May This Be Love, Jimi Hendrix
"At home, Jimmy drew and painted for hours. He filled pages with sleek-finned spaceships, knights on
horseback, fierce Indian chiefs, and castles in the clouds. A teacher even let him cover the blackboards
once with chalk drawings of Mexico--in bold, blazing yellows, purples, and reds.
Jimmy's imagination was on fire, and a tune was always playing in his head. At night, he'd listen to Dad
croon along with gospel, jazz, or blues records on the old phonograph. A song by Muddy Waters--with its
wailing guitar and harmonica--set off fireworks in his mind.
He wondered--could a person use music like chalks and colored pencils? Could someone paint pictures

from JIMI: Sounds Like A Rainbow (Clarion/Moughton MIfflin Harcourt)
excerpt copyright Gary Golio, all rights reserved, 2013
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