cover image Nathan’s Song

Nathan’s Song

Leda Schubert, illus. by Maya Ish-Shalom. Dial, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-984815-78-1

Everyone in the Russian shetl loves young Nathan’s singing. “That Nathan!” say the neighbors. “He can lift your heart with his voice.” The family scrimps and saves to send him to Italy for singing lessons, and what follows is a string of incredible events—the afterword notes that they’re loosely based on Schubert’s (Trailblazer) grandfather’s life. Nathan mistakenly boards a boat bound for New York, earns his passage singing in the ship’s dining room, gets scouted by a voice teacher while busking, makes an appearance on “a big Broadway stage,” and meets his true love while working in a hat shop. He’s finally reunited with his dearly missed family on Ellis Island, finding them amid the tumult by singing out so they recognize and follow his voice. The calm, reportorial narration sometimes dampens the dramatic tale filled with twists of fate, but artist Ish-Shalom’s illustrations lend energy to the telling: the crisp, bright colors; simple but evocative detailing; and indomitable doll-like figures have the verve of modern folk art. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Steven Chudney, the Chudney Agency. (Feb.)