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How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln
Table of Contents
About The Book
A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book
In soaring words and stunning illustrations, Margarita Engle and Rafael López tell the story of Teresa Carreño, a child prodigy who played piano for Abraham Lincoln.
As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her up, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too—the Civil War.
Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House! Yet with the country torn apart by war, could Teresa’s music bring comfort to those who needed it most?
About The Illustrator
Rafael López was born and raised in Mexico, a place that has always influenced the vivid colors and shapes in his artwork. He now creates community-based mural projects around the world and illustrates acclaimed children’s books including The Day You Begin, Bravo!, Drum Dream Girl, We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands, Book Fiesta!, and Dancing Hands. Rafael divides his time between Mexico and California. Visit him at RafaelLopez.com.
- Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (August 27, 2019)
- Length: 40 pages
- ISBN13: 9781481487405
- Grades: P - 3
- Ages: 4 - 8
- Lexile ® NC1260L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®
- Fountas & Pinnell™ P These books have been officially leveled by using the F&P Text Level Gradient™ Leveling System
Browse Related Books
- 1st Grade
- 2nd Grade
- 3rd Grade
- Age 4 - 8
- Lexile ® 1191 - 1290
- Children's Non-Fiction > Biography & Autobiography > Cultural, Ethnic & Regional
- Children's Non-Fiction > People & Places > United States > Hispanic & Latino
- Children's Non-Fiction > Biography & Autobiography > Music
- Children's Non-Fiction > Biography & Autobiography > People of Color
Raves and Reviews
* “Engle's free verse whirls and twirls, playful and vivacious, while López's vivid, colorful artwork elevates this story to heavenly heights. Like a concerto for the heart.”
– Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Lyrical, imagery-rich text . . . Patterned mixed-media illustrations use color to evoke the lushness of Venezuela, the darkness of war, and the beauty of music. Concluding with a historical note, the biography’s vibrant images and language form a melodious composition.”
"López’s swirling colors, soaring birds, and scattered notes conjure music’s transportive powers amid the countries’ war-torn landscapes, complementing Engle’s text, and building 'hymns . . . shimmered like hummingbirds.'"
– Publishers Weekly
"Engle’s writing shines through powerful descriptions and connections between music and feelings. López’s vivid illustrations expertly alternate between lush, vibrant hues, and gray, muted depictions of darker times; they evoke characters and historical settings with absorbing detail."
– Horn Book Magazine
"Author and illustrator are well paired in this interesting narrative. Darks and lights, whether representing world events or the colors of the piano keys, are recurring themes that Engle cleverly entwines in her at times poetic writing. López’s illustrations practically leap from the page as they mirror the tone of events—bright and beautiful when the story is light; dark, drab, and gray when echoing conflict."
– School Library Journal
Awards and Honors
- CBC/NCSS Notable Children's Book in Social Studies
- Kansas NEA Reading Circle List Intermediate Title
- Beehive Award Master List (UT)
- Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best
- Eureka! Excellence in Nonfiction Award Honor Title (CA)
- Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award Reading List (PA)
- Topaz Nonfiction Reading List (TX)
- NYPL Best Books for Kids (Top Ten)
- ALA Pura Belpré for Illustration
- Rhode Island Latino Book Award Nominee
Resources and Downloads
High Resolution Images
- Book Cover Image (jpg): Dancing Hands Hardcover 9781481487405
- Author Photo (jpg): Margarita Engle Photograph (c) Shevaun Williams(0.1 MB)
Any use of an author photo must include its respective photo credit
More books from this illustrator: Rafael López
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