"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, November 17, 2023

THE FIRST NOTES and two other nonfiction Children's books about music

My mother-in-law was an Elementary Music specialist. She shared how difficult it was sometimes to keep her students, especially her youngest ones, engaged. When those moment arrived any of these three books about musical topics would have helped the students to quiet down and center themselves.

The First Notes: The Story of DO, RE, MI by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton
Little, Brown and Company, 2022.

We all know the song from The Sound of Music, "Do-Re-Mi", but most of us don't know who coined the names of the notes and how written music came to be. Here beloved actress, Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, introduce the readers to a monk named Guido d'Arezzo who lived in the 11th century. "With creativity, passion, and perseverance, one hamble man invented a way to share music across the world." What struck me was the fact that I'd never once given the thought to the fact that there was a time when all music had to memorized because there was no written language for it.

My rating: 4 stars

The Story of the Saxophone by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Holiday House, 2023.

It is hard to think of a time when o saxophones existed. But back in 1840 in Belgium, a young daydreamer and inventor named Joseph-Antoine Adolphe Sax, started playing around with various instruments, trying to create a sound louder than a clarinet, but softer and more subtle than a trumpet. The result was an instrument named for him, the saxophone. It was not accepted easily in Europe at the time of its invention until the French military got involved. . Napoleon loved the "saxophon" as it was spelled in those days. Later the instrument made its way across the ocean and found a new home in New Orleans where it found its rightful place with the Jazz musicians of the day. And it has never been out of style since that time.

My rating: 5 stars

The Girl Who Heard the Music: How One Pianist and 85,00 Bottles and Cans Brought New Hope to an Island by Marni Fogelson and Mahani Teave
Sourcebooks, 2023.

Imagine living on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), where there is only one piano on the whole island. That is what happened to Mahani Teave, who loved music but had few chances to play the piano when she was growing up. Not until a musician from Chili learned of her interest and talent and took her to the mainland did she get proper musical training. Mahini Teave was so gifted and talented she traveled all over the world playing her piano in large concert halls, but her heart was back in Rapa Nui. When she went home she and other islanders built a music conservatory out of the many bottles and cans which constantly washed ashore on the island's beaches. Now many children on the island can learn to play instruments. Watch this video about Mahani Teave and her music school made here. The book and its message are both so inspiring.

My rating: 5 stars


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