Skip to main content
Cover for Birth of the Cool

Birth of the Cool

How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Kathleen Cornell Berman, Keith Henry Brown (Illustrator)


List Price: 17.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Miles can’t sleep.
Taps his toes,
snaps his fingers,
can’t stop thinking of ways
to make music his own.

As a young musician, Miles Davis heard music everywhere. This biography explores the childhood and early career of a jazz legend as he finds his voice and shapes a new musical sound. Follow his progression from East St. Louis to rural Arkansas, from Julliard and NYC jazz clubs to the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival. Rhythmic free verse imbues his story with musicality and gets readers in the groove. Music teachers and jazz fans will appreciate the beats and details throughout, and Miles’ drive to constantly listen, learn, and create will inspire kids to develop their own voice.

With evocative illustrations, this glimpse into Miles Davis’ life is sure to captivate music lovers young and old.

Praise For Birth of the Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

"A stirring, soulful, well-researched look at the groundwork that informed Miles' signature sound, offering an entry point to a towering, complicated figure who reshaped 20th-century music again and again." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"The lyrical prose is written in short stanzas that beg to be read aloud. Brown’s art is warm, stylized realism that, along with the text, conveys the earnestness and enthusiasm of Davis’s beginnings...Great introductory biography to this musician’s beginnings through age 29.­" --School Library Journal

"Berman’s writing mimics the cadence of jazz...Brown’s pen-and-ink and watercolor art conveys both the precision and fluidity of [Miles Davis's] style."--Publishers Weekly

An entertaining introduction to the life of a famous jazz musician"--Booklist

Page Street Kids, 9781624146909, 40pp.

Publication Date: April 16, 2019

About the Author

Kathleen Cornell Berman is an assembler and sculptor of words and found objects. A former elementary school teacher, she now spends her time writing, creating art, and frequenting jazz concerts. This is her debut picture book. She lives in Queens, New York, with her husband.

Keith Henry Brown, debut picture book illustrator, got his start drawing super heroes, but jazz musicians like Miles Davis have always been heroes to him. A graduate of the High School of Art and Design as well as Parsons School of Design, he combined his love of art and jazz as the creative director at Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has designed and illustrated promotional graphics and several jazz album covers. Born and raised in Staten Island, he now lives in Brooklyn, New York.