Muddy

The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters

Illustrated by Evan Turk
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About The Book

An Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winner
A New York Times Best Illustrated Book
An NPR Best Book of the Year
A Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
A Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner


A picture book celebration of the indomitable Muddy Waters, a blues musician whose fierce and electric sound laid the groundwork for what would become rock and roll.

Muddy Waters was never good at doing what he was told. When Grandma Della said the blues wouldn’t put food on the table, Muddy didn’t listen. And when record producers told him no one wanted to listen to a country boy playing country blues, Muddy ignored them as well. This tenacious streak carried Muddy from the hardscrabble fields of Mississippi to the smoky juke joints of Chicago and finally to a recording studio where a landmark record was made.

Soon the world fell in love with the tough spirit of Muddy Waters. In blues-infused prose and soulful illustrations, Michael Mahin and award-winning artist Evan Turk tell Muddy’s fascinating and inspiring story of struggle, determination, and hope.

About The Author

Photograph © Roxyanne Young

Michael Mahin has loved music since his grandmother gave him his first piano lesson at the age of five. Like Carlos Santana, he believes that music fills the world with magic and love and feeling and healing. He is the author of Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters and enjoys writing books about people who use their creativity to make the world a better place. He lives in San Diego, California, with his wife, two kids, and several guitars he wishes he played better. Visit him at MichaelMahin.com.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (September 2017)
  • Length: 48 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481443494
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8

Raves and Reviews

* "The words and pictures here mix exuberance with melancholy. Mahin’s words have a beat all their own, capturing the lows and highs with poetic verve. Turk’s watercolor, ink, and collage artwork fills pages, exploding with a neon intensity—the equivalent of a dynamic guitar riff . . . Read the book, then get kids the music.”

– Booklist, Starred Review, July 2017

"This poetic celebration of Muddy Waters' musical truth is lifted still higher by Turk's extraordinary art.”

– Kirkus Reviews, 7/1/17

“Lyrically told with a lilting cadence by debut author Mahin. . . . Turk’s mixed-media illustrations leap off the page. . . . The soul of the blues sings out through the pages.”

– School Library Journal, July 2017

“Like Waters’s music after landing in the Windy City, Turk’s artwork is electric—wild strokes of marker and oil pastel vibrate with energy. And Mahin’s equally vivid writing will almost certainly send readers after Waters’s catalogue.”

– Publishers Weekly, August 7, 2017

“Mahin’s text is engaging, rhythmic, soulful, and written to reflect the blues that influenced Muddy Waters. . . . Turk’s expressionistic mixed-media illustrations, many of them double-page spreads, aptly convey the emotions associated with Muddy Waters’s music.”

– The Horn Book, September/October 2017

* “Turk’s mixed-media and collage artwork roils with waves of darkness and explosive color, even as it models compositional control, and Muddy is always defined with an electric hue that keeps him in sharp focus. . . .  Mahin’s lyricism and rolling cadence make the text a readaloud delight.”

– BCCB, Starred Review, September 2017

Awards and Honors

  • CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children's Book Council)
  • CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
  • Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best
  • NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts
  • Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award
  • Eureka Nonfiction Gold Award (CA)
  • New York Public Library Best Books for Kids

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Michael Mahin