Redbone by Christian Staebler
Illustrated by Sonia Paoloni and Thibault Balahy
Delve into the formation of the first all American Indian Rock Band: Redbone, as told from Pat Vegas’ perspective. Before they were a full band, Lolly and Pat Vegas played clubs in LA and jammed with some of the greats - Jimmy Hendrix before he was Jimi, Sonny and Cher, and more. They start to collect other talented musicians who were also passing as Hispanic Americans, and formed a band that then went on to proudly use elements of Native American instruments and musicality in their songs and display their Native American heritage. While they weren't always a commercial success, and their ancestry brought them discrimination and missed gigs, the members of Redbone felt it was necessary to continue their musical careers as noble Native Americans who would not bend to the pressure of their record label or the music industry.
I honestly picked this up because "Come and Get Your Love" resurfaced in popularity after its use in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 movie. I imagine this is how many of our students will know it, too. I hadn’t anticipated being pulled into this story, but I was because of the attention to the history surrounding the band and their formation. This book is half about the band and half about Native American rights as fought for from the 1800s to the 1970s. And, as history often has a way of doing, the events from the book tie in with the current struggles, such as the Dakota Access Pipeline, that our Native American communities are still fighting. It is also always nice to read a book and find connections close to the place where you're sitting. I had no idea that Pat and Lolly Vegas were born about 60 miles from where I currently live, nor did I know that they were raised for a better part of their lives in the Tower District of my current hometown, Fresno. it's a fun and startling realization to see part of a freeway you drive to work every day depicted within a comicbook.
The illustrations of this book are heavily outlined and stylized with some roughness. There are some great moments of coloring and shading that incorporate symbolism important to Native Americans.
This title would be most suitable to high school audiences. There are cigarettes and alcohol references throughout. There is one page of language - this book could be considered an R film because a sound engineers says the F word three times in after hearing their music - but that's the only cussing in the entire book.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
This review was made possible with a digital reader copy from the publisher through Net Galley.
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
ISBN: 9781684057146 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: High School, Graphic Nonfiction, Memoir, Music, Native American, IDW
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I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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