When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop written by Laban Carrick Hill & illustrated by Theodore Taylor 111

Wow! Just wow! 

It feels like I've been waiting and waiting forever for this book to arrive. 

It's the story of Clive, a boy growing up in Kingston, Jamaica. He loved any kind of music. No matter what kind it was, it made his feet go, "HIP HIP HOP, HIPPITY HOP." His hero was the local DJ, King George, who threw "the biggest and baddest house parties in the neighborhood." 

When Clive was 13 he moved to New York City to be with his mama. It was hard at first, but he found a sense of belonging in sports. He was nicknamed Kool Herc.  Eventually he went to go to the local "house parties where he listened to the hottest tunes and danced like crazy." Soon after his father purchased a monster sound system, Kool Herc and his sister started having parties of their own. He became the DJ he had always wanted to be. Taking what he had learned from King George, Kool Herc's parties became renowned for for their music and dance. Local gang members came together peacefully to participate in break dance competitions. 

I love so much about this book. The illustrations are stunning; full of energy and emotion. The lyrical text has the beat running through it. 


  1. I have seen this book in a few places and it really intrigues me. Might be time to reserve a copy. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I do have to read this! I keep hearing how wonderful it is!

  3. I know you will both love it. It is a stand out amazing book!

  4. Glad to see this book receiving so much love. I have a feeling my 12 year old girl would love this.

    1. Me Too! It is such a great addition to the collections of books about modern significant black characters.