Beginners Welcome

Cindy Baldwin. HarperCollins, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-266589-8
Sixth grader Annie Lee Fitzgerald has done her absolute best to become invisible in the 83 days following her music-loving father’s unexpected death. After all, “invisible people couldn’t be seen, and people who couldn’t be seen couldn’t be hurt.” Despite her anxious mother’s working long hours at Mary’s Maids, the bereft family struggles to make ends meet. During afternoons alone, Annie Lee secretly steals away from “old and falling-down” neighborhood North Durham to Brightleaf Square, a bright mall in a former tobacco warehouse, where an elderly gentleman plays the piano for passersby. Drawn by his magical music, which sparks emotion-tinged colors that people can see “when they need them,” Annie Lee forms a friendship with the pianist, Ray, and she begins piano lessons with him, hoping to win a cash prize. When she’s again faced with losing someone she loves, Annie Lee must decide whether to shrug off her carefully constructed invisibility. Intermingling themes of grief and loss with moments of unexpected, joyful connection, Baldwin (Where the Watermelons Grow) depicts character growth with particular grace, especially Annie Lee’s relationship with her mother, which shifts and evolves as the two navigate their new relationship without Annie Lee’s father. Ages 8–12. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown Ltd. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/12/2019
Release date: 02/01/2020
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-266591-1
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