PLAY, LOUIS, PLAY! The Biography of Louis Armstrong as Told by His Horn!

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2 Ratings
Kids Wings
Grade Levels
3rd - 5th, Homeschool
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • Zip
89 pages
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Louis Armstrong, the great Sachmo, was the world's most celebrated horn players. No one knew him better than the horn he played, the one he finally was able to buy from the pawn-shop. So, who better to tell the story of Louis's life than his beloved horn? His horn becomes the voice of the narrator in one of the most entertaining biographies ever written, Play, Louis, Play: The True Story of a Boy and His Horn.

When Louis Armstrong was a child, life wasn't easy, but this young man was not a complainer!

When he had nothing else to eat, he ate beans and fish heads and was glad to have them.

When his father deserted him and his mother left him with Grandma, Louis helped her with the wash she took in and learned to love music through hymns he sang every Sunday at church.

When kids called him names like "Sachelmouth," "Dippermouth," and "Fish Face," Louis bragged that he would keep all of the nicknames he could get because "a good nickame is hard to find."

When his mother got sick and made him leave his Grandma to take care of her, Louis was sad but loved to help his mother and treasured the trust she had in him.

Louis always found something good in the bad that surrounded him. His optimism and hard work were rewarded by the admiration he received from those around him.

How did he finally get enough money to buy his first horn from the pawn-shop?
Why did he shovel coal all day and sing in a quartet with four other kids all night?
What did he do with his "perfect pitch"?
Why did he get arrested?
What happened later when he found a gun and shot it in the street?
What made Louis cry?
What kind of music did he create? Why did people love him?
His songs and music were always fun of joy and his feet never stopped tapping.

You'll find all of these answers and many more in this clever biography told by his horn. Play, Louis, Play: The True Story of a Boy and His Horn is one of the best biographies we have ever read and will be loved by children and adults of all ages.

We here at Kids Wings believe that Play, Louis, Play: The True Story of a Boy and His Horn, is one of the best biographies ever written. It has depth of the characterization, a fun point-of-view, and an inspiring story about the love of music and a work ethic that will provide a model to a growing generation who will themselves face hard times! An excellent choice for Black History Month!

Although it is an easy novel, we recommend it for grades 2-adult.

The Kids Wings Literature Guide for Play, Louis, Play by by Muriel Harris Weinstein comes to you in both PowerPoint and PDF format. Written by master teacher Suzy Red, the guide contains these activities:
Pre-Reading Discussion Cards
Anticipation Guide
Map Study
Readers’ Theater Introduction
Character Studies
Early Years Crossword Puzzle
Comprehension Check Ups for Each Chapter
Musical Math
There's More to the Story Discussion Guide/Game
Life Lessons
Research Jazz Music
The Challenges, The Lessons, and the Application
Louis Armstrong's Song--Singing the sample and
Make a Musical Instrument like Louis Armstrong did.
Similes from the Story
Cause and Effect
Louis's Timeline
Glossary Tic-Tac-Toe
Musical Vocabulary Crossword Puzzle
Writing My Biography as an object who knows me well
Writing Prompts
Answer Keys

Plus, an interactive Jeopardy-type game in PowerPoint format!

PLEASE NOTE: Kids Wings materials are written by highly experienced master teachers. We hire professional proof readers who are also master educators. We do our best to be sure each of our literature guides is top quality and error free, and classroom tested, but if you think we can do better, we welcome your input. If you find an error in our materials, please email us at so we can make revisions. After it is corrected, we will invite you to download a newly polished copy and will probably attach a surprise to our reply as a thank-you!

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Total Pages
89 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 month
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