Biography, History

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

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Back of Book:
As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her up, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too—the Civil War.Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House! Yet with the country torn apart by war, could Teresa’s music bring comfort to those who needed it most?
My Review:
I read this stunning historical story in my classroom to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. I had never heard about Teresa Carreño and was amazed to learn so much about the young talented pianist who played for President Lincoln.
Margarita Engle’s lyrical text draws readers in and welcomes them to a world where music was a calming force amid uncertainty and war.  The illustrations by  Rafael López are vibrant and absolutely breathtaking. The contrast of light and dark beautifully match the mood of the text.
The historical note in the back of the book shares more about the life and music of Teresa Carreño.

This is an excellent story to share with any Civil War or Presidents Day lesson. It also tied in perfectly with my lessons for National Hispanic  Heritage Month.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages
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