“Les Paul was an innovator and musical force for the ages – he changed the world in a very real way. His story is a lesson from which kids of all ages can derive inspiration.”
Billy Gibbons, lead guitarist of ZZ Top
“An exuberant introduction to a musician and creative genius.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Text and illustrations radiate exuberance and joy…A strong addition to inspire would-be inventors, and an excellent choice for STEM programs and biography collections.” – School Library Journal
The official book launch for Guitar Genius: How Les Paul Engineered the Solid Body Electric Guitar and Rocked the World! will take place May 2 – 4 in Les Paul’s hometown of Waukesha, Wisconsin right at the middle school that now bears his name. Kim Tomsic will also speak to the students at Waukesha’s STEM Academy – Randall Campus, Summit View Elementary School and Banting Elementary School in Waukesha.
Free public programs and book signings will be held Saturday, May 4th at Discovery World, 500 N. Harbor Drive, Milwaukee at 11:00 a.m. and at the Waukesha County Museum, 101 W. Main St., Waukesha at 2:00 p.m. on the same day. Presentations are geared toward students ages 6 -11 and their families and everyone interested in learning more about Les Paul.
The book, a Junior Library Selection, shares how Les Paul created the world’s first solid-body electric guitar, countless other inventions that changed modern music, and had one epic performing career. Tomsic explains Les Paul’s complex technical achievements, focusing on just a few that make sense for her audience. Her author’s note goes into more depth.
A curious kid who tinkered with everything electronic, young Lester Polsfuss had a mechanical mind and love of music. Once told by a teacher he had no talent, he was encouraged by his mother to pursue his passions. What he didn’t have, he made: a harmonica holder, a recording device, a speaker system. While his performing career took him around the world, he never stopped inventing. In 1941, at the age of 26, he created the instrument that could play the sounds he wanted, the solid body electric guitar.
“Guitar Genius: How Les Paul Engineered the Solid-Body Electric Guitar and Rocked the World! by Kim Tomsic is a fantastic, fun and creative story. Once you open to the first page you want to discover more about the legendary inventor. Tomsic has crafted the storyline encouraging young people to explore their curiosity and does an extraordinary job in portraying the facts. We hope educators and parents encourage their children to enjoy this new book and explore their own inner-inventor.”
– Michael Braunstein, Executive Director, Les Paul Foundation.
Kim Tomsic lives part time in Colorado and in Arizona with her husband and dogs. This is her first picture book. Brett Helquist is the New York Times bestselling illustrator of many books including A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.