Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln

Margarita Engle, illus. by Rafael López. Atheneum, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8740-5
In the dark days of the Civil War, a girl named Teresa Carreño sat down at a badly tuned piano to play for a special audience: Abraham Lincoln and his family. This book tells the story of how a young refugee from Venezuela comforted the grieving president with her music. Music helps Carreño express her feelings and cope with her family’s emigration to the U.S.—“Without a new piano, Teresa would have felt even more lonely.... Teresa practiced... her strong hands accepting the challenges of life’s many dark and light moods.” Her reputation as a prodigy leads to an invitation at the White House. Intimidated, she tries her best—“the memory of meeting past challenges now helped her fingers dance.” 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.” Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 07/03/2019
Release date: 08/27/2019
Genre: Children's
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