Hip hip hop, hippity hop. That's how Clive Campbell tapped his feet to music as a young boy in Jamaica. He brought that rhythm with him when his family moved to the Bronx in the late 1960s. Before long, "Little Clive" became DJ Kool Herc, inventor of hip-hop. A new illustrated children's book by Caldecott Honor-winning Winooski author Laban Carrick Hill tells the story. When the Beat Was Born explains how DJ Kool Herc set up two turntables side-by-side to stretch the musical "breaks" in songs, creating long stretches of danceable tunes. Breakdancing was born at DJ Kool Herc's parties, where, Hill writes, "even street gangs wanted to dance, not fight." Small children might not be ready for Kanye West or Jay Z, but they'll enjoy this book about the boy whose feet could feel the beat.
When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop: By Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III. Published by Roaring Brook Press, 31 pages. $17.99 hardcover.