Adventures In Zen Books

Julian's Jam: Strings of Joy

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"Julian's Jam: Strings of Joy" by Shakeema Funchess is an enchanting children's book that follows the musical journey of twelve-year-old Julian. Filled with passion and determination, Julian is a self-taught musician who has mastered the guitar, bassoon, and viola. However, his dreams reach even higher as he aspires to learn the accordion and become a Mariachi.

From the very first page, readers are captivated by Julian's infectious love for music. Through vivid and engaging storytelling, Funchess introduces us to Julian's world, where melodies dance in the air and musical notes come alive. The author beautifully depicts Julian's dedication and perseverance in pursuing his dreams, inspiring young readers to believe in themselves and follow their passions.

As Julian embarks on his journey to learn the accordion, the tale of resilience, highlighting the importance of practice, patience, and the support of loved ones is weaved. One of the book's standout features is its celebration of cultural diversity. Julian's aspiration to become a Mariachi shines a spotlight on the rich and vibrant traditions of Mexican music.

"Julian's Jam: Strings of Joy" is not only an entertaining story but also an educational experience. At the back of the book, briefly about who the Mariachi are and why they should be celebrated. Funchess's writing style effortlessly engages children, making it an ideal choice for both independent reading and read-aloud sessions.

Accompanied by charming illustrations that bring the story to life, "Julian's Jam: Strings of Joy" is a delightful read for children of all ages. Shakeema Funchess's heartwarming tale encourages young readers to pursue their dreams, embrace diversity, and find joy in the magic of music.

ISBN: 978-1-0881-3805-2


  • JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Mexico
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Performing Arts / Music
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Diversity & Multicultural


Lexile Range: 1010L-1200L (Grade 4-6)

Audience: Juvenile (Child 9-12)

Page count: 38

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Author's Biography


Shakeema Funchess is an inspiring author who is making a difference in the lives of young readers. She is a graduate of Saint Bonaventure University and holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and pre-law. She minored in Arabic and Islamic Studies. Born and raised in bustling cities in New York, Funchess developed a love for writing and storytelling at a young age. After completing her education, Funchess began her career as a writer, focusing on creating stories that would empower and inspire young readers. She drew upon her own experiences as an African American woman to create relatable characters that would help children understand the complexities of the world around them. She is deeply committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in her writing, and her stories often feature characters from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures. Funchess is known for her dynamic and engaging artistic style, which is both educational and entertaining. Her stories often tackle difficult topics such as racism, discrimination, and prejudice, but always do so with a message of hope and resilience. She is also a dedicated advocate for literacy and education and has worked tirelessly to promote the importance of reading and writing skills among young people. She wants her books to captivate and inspire young readers, and she remains committed to creating stories that promote diversity, kindness, empathy, and understanding.

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