SONNY’S BRIDGE by Barry Wittenstein #CYBILS ๐Ÿ“š๐ŸŽถ

sonnys bridge-nonfiction finalist


by Barry Wittenstein
illustrated by Keith Mallettย ย 

Charlesbridge Publishing

Finalist – Elementary/Middle-Grade Nonfiction
2019 CYBILS Awards

The Book

Biography, Black History, Music, Nonfiction


Sonny’s Bridge is a tribute to the prolific jazz musician Sonny Rollins. Sonny was born in the vibrant times of jazz music. As a kid, Sonny played the saxophone and very quickly mastered the instrument. By 29 years, Sonny had rocketed to the top of the jazz world. And then, he stepped back. Barry Wittenstein’s tribute in this picture book takes you through the story of this extraordinary jazz artist who at the height of his career, suddenly stopped and took a sabbatical to discover his true voice. But Sonny didn’t stop playing. Two years out of the limelight, Sonny took to the Williamsburg Bridge to practice and play his sax to find his music again.

Written in verse but prose that flows like music, in combination with digital medium art with deep colors to represent the artist’s emotional journey, Sonny’s Bridge is a beautiful tribute, presented as a picture book.

Blurb by Reshama Deshmukh, Stacking Books




Sonny Rollinsโ€™ music is widely influential in the history of Black Jazz music in America. This playlist is a compilation of his most famous music, as well as other pieces composed by highly distinguished Black saxophonists, pianists, and trumpeters who recorded with him. You just might find your new favorite musician in this collection!


The Girl

Riya Fernando.ย 

Riya is thrilled to be able to combine two of her favorite things: books and music. She is an avid reader who can often be found with her nose in a murder mystery while listening to contemporary piano music, her favorite genre of piano music to listen to and play. She was introduced to CYBILS Awards through her mother, Category Chair and CYBILS Awards Board Member, who helped Riya cultivate her love for books. She hopes that others will love these playlists as much as she does!