Author Katheryn Russell-Brown

Donna Kouri sent me this text message yesterday morning: 

I totally agree with her smart opinion. We celebrated A Curious Tale of the In-Between, The Terrible Two, Little Elliot, and Timmy Failure. We're ending an already awesome week with a BIG BANG. Katheryn Russell-Brown dropped by to chat with me about Little Melba, Frank Morrison, Billie Holiday, picture books, and reading. I wrote the words in red, and Katheryn wrote the words in black. Thank you, Katheryn! 

Melba loves the trombone.  It was love at first sight.  She first spotted the instrument at a traveling music store when she was 7-years-old.

Illustration Credit: Frank Morrison 
Frank Morrison’s illustrations make you want to hug Little Melba and get to know her a little better. 

Illustration Credit:
 Frank Morrison 
I hope you will listen to Melba Liston blow her horn.  Click here

Billie Holiday,Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dexter Gordon, Gerald Wilson, Billie Holliday, Marvin Gaye, Randy Weston, Gloria Lynne, Tony Bennett, Eddie Fisher, Billy Eckstine, the Supremes, Dinah Washington, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Quincy Jones, are some of the people that Melba Liston collaborated with as a trombone player, composer, or arranger. 

A radio broadcast about Melba Liston on NPR in 2010 [“Melba Liston: The Bones of an Arranger"] captured my interest.  I’d never heard of Liston, and after hearing some of the names of people she had worked with, I was surprised that she wasn’t more well-known.  I started asking jazz lovers I knew if they knew about her. Only one person had heard of Melba Liston—my dad, an old-school jazz connoisseur. 

Illustration Credit:
 Frank Morrison 
Picture books are windows to the world.  I can’t imagine childhood without them.

Reading is a wonderfully independent and courageous act.  My mom said you should always carry with you something to read.
Download the guide HERE. 
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me, “Why did you write Little Melba and Her Big Trombone?”  I wrote it for myself as a young girl.  I would have loved to have read Melba’s story as a little girl—a girl with a special talent, who persevered and shared her musical gifts with the world. 

I am giving away one copy of Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from 1/16 to 11:59 p.m. on 1/18. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Borrow Little Melba and Her Big Trombone from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


  1. Mr. Schu! I am dying to read this one! I saw the cover a few weeks ago and immediately added it to my TBR. Thanks for sharing it with us!


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