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Rent Party Jazz read by Viola Davis

Rent Party Jazz is written by William Miller, illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb and read by Viola Davis. This story is set in New Orleans in the 1930s. Sonny and his mother are scraping by to pay their rent. Mama works in a fish canning factory, and Sonny works for the coal man before school each morning. When Mama loses her job, they no longer have enough money for the rent and fear that the landlord will turn them out. One day Sonny meets Smilin’ Jack, a jazz musician who is playing his trumpet in Jackson Square. Smilin’ Jack offers to play at a party at Sonny’s house to help raise money for the rent. The neighbors all come to sing and dance and before they leave, drop some coins in a bucket. Sonny learns how people can help one another “if they put their minds and hearts to it.”


Welcome to Storyline online, brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. I’m Viola Davis and I’m reading rent party jazz written by William Miller and illustrated by Charlotte Riley web. Every morning as the sun was coming up, suddenly went to work for the coal man, ourselves, McCall, two bits a sec. The coal man cried out as they drove slowly down the street to the French Quarter. Sunny wish. Ok. And has worn bid. But he knew how badly he and mama needed the extra money, even though he would spend the rest of the day in school. Sunny started the day like a working man son. His job was a jump down and drag the sacs into the alleys, then shovel the cold down the chute. He $0.10 a day, seven days a week. His mother worked in a fish canning factory all day long. She packed bands, the little fish, earning a penny for each can she billed. When suddenly the coal man drove through Jackson Square, they would HE a trumpet players blowing. The musicians played any two people wanted to hear, hoping listeners with drop a few coins into their heads. One son, he came home to find mamma sitting at the kitchen table. She looked like she had been crying. What’s the matter, mama Sania. So you sick? Worse than six sunny. I haven’t let go for my job. These are some hard times and folks on by much fancy fish might be three full months. Will they need these hands again? Sunni’s hearts sink, rent. They would be coming soon in the red man didn’t care whether you had a job and not. All he wanted was his money. If they miss paying the rent by just one day, the rent man would change the locks and sell off their belongings at a public auction. I’ll get a second job. Mama son, he said, I’ll quit. No, sunny moment interrupted. I got two weeks to find some males. You stay in school and learn everything you can, everything. So things will be better for you. After school that day, suddenly wandered through the streets of the quarter, tired and said, they had to be something you could do to help raise money. And Jackson Square, a huge crowd had gathered around one man playing his own. Even from the back of the crowd. Son, he could hear how fine the music was. And no wonder the music was so good, so sweet, some clear, everybody in New Orleans, new about smile and Jack. He had play this one all around the country, even in the great jazz clubs up north. Smile and Jack looked like the happiest man in the world blowing his magic horn, collecting bucket pulls the coins. He seem so happy. Sunny felt even worse about mom and rent money the next day and the next Sunday foundings back to Jackson Square at the screen. Smile and jazz music was too good to ignore. I always do toward the front of the crowd, though he’s still felt too sad and void the clap or sing along. On the third day, sunny state into the music was over and people began drifting from Square. Hey young man, What’s your name? Smile and *******, as he stepped down from the platform. Sunny Como ser, you will need a special tool, sunny, you look and mighty down. Sure wish I could get those hands clap and I love your music. Smile and Jackson, he said, but a tune won’t solve my problems. Problems. What kind of problems does a boy like you have? Sonny explained about his mother losing her job, about the rent, then put them out on the street. I’m paying the rent. Smile and Jack suddenly look serious back and Mississippi well, come from, they did the same thing, the colored folks all the time. But then we found a way to fight back, pay them. Red man had the world’s best audio at the same time. How do you do that, Sonny, as all the neighbors got together to themselves or rent parties, smile injects it. They baked sweet potato, pass, picks up some cap patient greens, then brought the food to the house where help was needed. They put out a big empty bucket 2. And soon someone who knew how to pluck a font, banjo, a blow, a jazzy home would stop playing. Make people sing and dance and forget their worries for a while. By the end of the night, people had dropped enough money in that bucket to put the old man back in his place. That sounds like a modify an idea son, he said, but where am I going to find somebody who play for mom and me, play for poor people. He doesn’t even know. Smile and Jack fake the frown, tapped his foot. Some people say I play a pretty mean trumpet myself for the first time and days, sunny smiled. When Sonny got home, he found mama sit near the stove. No luck again today suddenly she said, but I’ll keep looking. I’ll find me their job to keep us going. Sunny stirred the calls with a poker, try and warm the damp room. Maybe you won’t need that job right away, Mama, sunny, soon. We’re going to have a party tonight and waste all the money we need for the rent. Every last nickel and dime smiling, jack told me how to do it. Don’t be talking such foolishness, sunny, even if you’re trying to cheer me up, Momma said pull inertial, tighter around her shoulders. It’s not foolishness. Mama sudden insisted, I’m going to prove it to you. Something that an older neighbors Jones, told them about the party and ask them to bring whatever point they could spare. He told them to get ready for the best music in the world. There were all going to meet the greats. Myelin. On his way home, Sonny bound an empty bucket in an alley. He put it on the floor just inside the doorway and sat down beside mama, mama sugar ahead thinking her paws and it just plain lost his mind. A little while later, sunny and mama, her cheering and clapping in the string, then someone not loudly on the door. Mrs. Camacho, I show, I’m pleased to meet you. Smile and Jack, trumpet in hand, Bao Tu Mama. Well, I’ll be thought my boy gone full me crazy. Mama said, hardly believe their eyes ashore. Love your music. Smile and Jack are surely do. Before mama could say another word, smile and Jack pull the bucket toward him, raise his trumpet, started blowing on a son. His favorite songs, Bourbon Street or rag. A house in the street was soon filled with people. There was more food than Sonny had ever seen at one time and not for everyone who was busy clapping and singing and dancing. All the neighbors had come to the party. I suddenly saw the Leblanc twins run into the crowd and he saw the oldest woman neighborhood, Mrs. Clairvaux, sitting in a chair tap and along to the music with their pain. Just one thing pockets and he heard only a few coins drop into the bucket. But as a night went on, the party started. She did not keep her long. And more at last smile and Jack stop playing them without any music. He started singing when the saints go marching in. When the saints go marching in O to B and then number, oh, when the saints go marching in, boom, boom, boom, boom. The whole crowd join then singing the voices than the beautiful chorus. Suddenly felt like he was in another world, a place where the music and the singing he loved would never stop. When everyone had the pocket was brimming with coins. Mama counted all the money they needed for the rent and handed the rest to smile and Jack, thank you much. Smile. Inject. She said, I took what I need to see is this belongs to you. Smile and Jack shook his head. No, ma’am. That money belongs there. Anybody who needs it for rent or food? I’ve already been paid. This was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Wherever I go from now on, I’m going to play at least one work party like this. We’ll show those men how good folks help each other. Suddenly walk, smile and Jack back to Jackson Square. Thank you Sunny, come on for one of the happiest nights of my life. Smile and Jackson, sure hope to see you next time I come to town. I know just where to find you now. They shook hands and hubs, like old friends. Suddenly walked home slowly wishing the night will never end. He was glad he had listened to mom. If he had quit school and taking a second job, he would never have met smile and Jack never have learned about bringing the neighbors together for rent party. It made him think about how much people could do for one another. They put the minds and hearts to it. Suddenly figured he would stay in school and learn everything in his books and lessons. And maybe just maybe he’d learned to play the trumpet beneath the bright glow of the street lamps and sway back and forth, pretending he could blow on me. I love rent party jazz because African-American characters are the focus of the story. It’s about jazz and it’s about people helping one another. Great message. I grew up in Rhode Island and I, I could have used or rent party with some dads, music and cornbread. Thank you for watching Storyline online. Make sure to check out all of our stories. Keep watching, keep reading. Okay. Okay. (As provided by SchoolTube video transcript.)

Standards Alignment

Suggested Grade Level: 1-4

Standards listed below are for second and third grades, but can be adapted to 1st or 4th grade standards

CCSS.SL.2.1, CCSS.SL.3.1, CCSS.SL2.2, CCSS.SL3.2, CCSS.SL2.2, CCSS.SL3.2; CCSS.RL.2.3, CCSS.RL.3.3, CCSS.RL.2.1, CCSS.RL.3.1; CCSS.W2.3, CCSS.W3.3, CCSS.W.2.2, and CCSS.W.3.2

View the activity guide here: rentpartyjazz

Rent Party Jazz, Viola Davis, Lee & Low Books, Charlotte Riley-Webb, William Miller, Music, jazz, jazz history, Storyline Online, Screen Actors Guild, Bedtime stories, Children’s Literacy, Literacy, SAG-AFTRA, SAG-AFTRA Foundation, Read Aloud, Reading, Storyline, Storytime, Storytelling, Books, Celebrities, Actresses, Children’s Books, Children’s Literature, Reading Websites, new orleans, Fences, The Help, Black History Month, Charity, Community, Poverty, African American, Helping others