Available Titles



Girl Singer

a novel

Mick Carlon

Harlem 1938: eighteen-year-old Avery, aspiring singer, is heard by Lester "Pres" Young, Count Basie's tenor saxophonist. Pres recommends her to Basie, and Avery is whisked into the jazz life. Years later, with several hit records to her credit, Avery settles in Greenwich Village. But her life takes a sharp turn when she meets Karl, a Jewish refugee from Hitler's Germany.

“Carlon packs an entire world into those short pages. And what a marvelous world it is: from Harlem and the Jazz Age, to Southern racism, Nazi hatred, and finally Chinese-Jewish culture. The sounds of jazz, of nightclubs and dance halls and the swinging beat of New York, are written so eloquently that the reader can almost feel the rhythm rumble off the pages like an improvised jazz note. This is an incredible novel that works as both a lesson on jazz music and the people who created it, and as a window into American racism and hatred. A fast read, but a don’t-miss, must-read book.”
—Historical Novel Society

"Carlon covers an unbelievable amount of ground in one novel. . . . Part jazz panegyric, part world history tour, altogether readable."

“A deftly crafted work of fiction that accurately conjures up an historic yesteryear of American popular culture and the political climate of the time, Girl Singer is an extraordinary and entertaining read from beginning to end.  
Very highly recommended.”
—Midwest Book Review

"A fast-paced narrative. . . . compelling and intense reading, by turns funny, tender, and horrifying, Girl Singer is the real deal—a captivating, well-told tale."
—Fred Kasten, Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist

"Carlon is a natural heir of Robert Louis Stevenson. If you like good fiction, you'll like Girl Singer."
—Brian Morton, The Penguin Guide to Jazz

"Carlon is a unique educational force, bringing young readers into the pleasures and drama of jazz."
 —Nat Hentoff, Jazz Country, Boston Bay, etc.

"An arresting and wonderful story that communicates—through a deep relationship between a singer and a Holocaust survivor—the joy of music, self-discovery, pain, and racism."
—Dick Golden, host of George Washington University Presents American Jazz

"Avery's story tackles hard topics—racism, women's rights—which transcend time and place. A tale with deep resonance and educational force, that will keep readers turning pages."
—Marilyn Lester, executive director, the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts

About the Author

Mick Carlon is a thirty-year veteran English and journalism teacher at the high and middle school levels, and the author of the middle-grade novelsRiding on Duke's Train and Travels with Louis. He is a frequent contributor to Jazz Times.


Girl Singer • Mick Carlon

160 pages ISBN: 978-1935248736 Trade paperback, $15.95

Published by Leapfrog Press LLC • www.leapfrogpress.com

Distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution

Girl Singer

Watch Mick Carlon's TEDx talk: How Louis Armstrong Transformed the Twentieth Century here.


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