Piano Starts Here

Book review by
Dawn Friedman, Common Sense Media
Piano Starts Here Book Poster Image
Masterful illustrations and an inspirational bio.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Despite setbacks, Art Tatum becomes a master pianist.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book may be too long-winded for the youngest listeners, but its inspirational message makes it worth a shot.

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What's the story?

Art Tatum is born blind in Toledo, Ohio, and eventually becomes world-famous as a leading jazz pianist.

Is it any good?

Parker is a Caldecott honor-winning illustrator, and his pictures here do much to bring the story to life with old-fashioned details that effectively convey the time period. The story itself may be too long for some of the littlest kids, but parents can start with the pictures and then move to the text as their child's attention span lengthens. For those kids caught up in Tatum's story, Parker supplies a more thorough biography in back along with resources families can explore.

Art Tatum was born in Toledo, Ohio, legally blind but well-loved. He grew up at the piano eventually becoming world-famous and revered. This book traces his beginnings, letting kids glimpse the childhood of one of jazz's most inspirational talents.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can listen to some of Art Tatum's music to understand how truly talented he was. Kids who like his music can explore other artists of the same era and the musicians who went on to interpret Tatum's work.

Book details

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