Published: 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:
From the library shelf, this book called to out to me. I knew instantly that this book would be a feature Book of the Week book.
Music was such an important part of the book. I’m a music junkie, so I loved the music aspect of it.
I also loved that the book focused on a genre of music I don’t really listen to nor know much about – jazz. And it made me want to learn more about the genre.
The main character Mary is simple kind of girl. It doesn’t take a lot to make to make her happy.
I love how this book really illustrated the power and the emotion of music. Music speaks volumes, and can transport people, just like books.
I love how this book celebrated natural talent.
I’ve secretly always wished I played an instrument, specifically the piano.
The imagery was beautiful. As I was reading, I felt that the authors really created a work of art, crafing such sentences like: “When she pounded the keys, she made thunder. When she tapped them, it rained. Sounds rose up from her playing, soft like the sun beaming, sharp like frogs calling, lonely like train whistles in the night … all from a place safe and secret inside her.” Come on! How beautiful is that.
This was a story of struggle, and shows young readers the importance of working hard towards something they are passionate about.
Mary is a strong girl. She faced people teasing her because she was poor and had no shoes, for being shunned for not being a native of her new hometown Pittsburgh. And she took it all in stride. And when it got tough, she turned to something she knew would never turn it’s back on her: music.
The writing wasn’t only eloquent, it was moving. Not only moving, it was strong, and really did propel the story forward.
I didn’t realize this, when I first picked up the book nor when I was reading it, but Mary was a real living, breathing person. She was a great jazz pianist with some snappy shoes.
I loved that this felt like a story, rather than a picture book biography. It wasn’t stiff or overworked, everything flowed well.
The authors made weaving fact into fiction seam effortless.
The illustrations are spot on. They reflect the powerful story, and the emotion of the overall story.