A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Kids learn a powerful lesson while briefly learning about the Civil War and the life of Abraham Lincoln.
Be brave an you can succeed. Music can help you feel better. The historical note at the end also offers strong messages about gender equality and the importance of the arts as a form of expression.
Positive Role Models
Teresa Carreño is brave, talented, and optimistic, bold and free. Abraham Lincoln is kind and appreciates the special talent of a littel girl.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Margarita Engle's Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln, beautifully illustrated by Rafael López, tells the story of a little girl's bravery, her musical talents, and important contribution towards equality in the arts. It's based on the true story of Teresa Carreño, a child prodigy who played piano for Abraham Lincoln during the U.S. Civil War. Teresa's family came to America fleeing the revolution in Venezuela but found that there was fighting happening in the United States as well. Teresa's musical talents allowed her to find joy again and share happiness with others during such dark times. The author's Historical Note at the end of the book shares more details about Teresa Carreño's life, including her life beyond childhood.
Is It Any Good?
This historical story reads like a beautiful poem. Author Margarita Engle's elaborate descriptions and rich metaphors transport the reader back in time. The vibrant and stunning illustrations also help draw the reader into Teresa's life, her music, and the historical events of the time period. Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played for President Lincoln is a great story to share with young readers, especially those who may need a little inspiration or be uncertain of how their unique talents can have great impact on others.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.