The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music by Roberta Flack and Tonya Bolden, illustrated by Hayden Goodman

Published by Anne Schwartz Books

Summary:  Roberta Flack’s family didn’t have a lot of money, but they had plenty of love–for each other and for music.  From the time she was three, Roberta played the piano at church, and she started lessons at the age of six.  Her most fervent wish was to have a piano of her own, and her father was able to grant that wish when he found an old piano in a junkyard.  He hauled it home, cleaned it, tuned it, and painted it green.  She practiced for hours, dreaming of a life of a musician, a dream that is shown coming true on the last page.  Includes a timeline of Flack’s career highlights and an author’s note describing her training as a classical musician, which led to her career as a pop singer.  40 pages; grades K-4.

Pros:  A great story to share with early elementary kids, because so much of it is focused on Roberta’s early life.  I love the message of the author’s note, summarized in the last line: “Find your own ‘green piano’ and practice relentlessly until you find your voice, and a way to put that beautiful music into the world.”

Cons:  Kids may need an introduction to Roberta Flack’s music.

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