Friday, September 6, 2013

September is National Piano Month

September is National Piano Month. To celebrate, here are some books about pianos and pianists!


Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral. Glory is a piano prodigy known for mixing classical pieces with pop culture themes, motifs, and musical references. But soon, Glory is falling, all she can play are variations on the Chopsticks waltz over and over and over and over and over again. As she unravels, we start to see another side and have to wonder how much is true, or even real. Told almost entirely in photographs and almost wordless, it's a fast, but lingering, read.

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr. Lucy was a concert pianist playing sold-out shows all over the world until a family betrayal inspired her to walk off stage in the middle of a concert. But her younger brother's new piano teacher may be the key to bringing her back to the music.

The Big Nothing by Adrian Fogelin. Justin's dad's gone, his mother's taken to bed, his brother just shipped off to Iraq, and his best friend no longer has time for him because he has a girlfriend. But a popular girl has taken interest in him, and he's discovered playing the piano as an escape. This is a companion novel to Crossing Jordan.


My Beautiful Hippie by Janet Nichols Lynch. Joanna is a piano player who's quiet, middle-class life is turned upside down when her Haight neighborhood is overrun with hippies during the summer of 1967. That's how she meets Martin, a free-spirit who lives a very different life than the one she has known.

Where Do You Stay? by Andrea Cheng. In this verse novel, Jerome's mother has died and he's moved in with his aunts and cousins. He misses his house and his piano, until he meets a neighbor who is often a pianist. Jerome wants to move in with Mr. Willie, but his house is slated for demolition.

Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin': A History of American Musical Instrument Makers by Susan VanHecke. This book looks at this history of several instrument makers and how they shaped today's musical landscape. One chapter looks at Steinway and Sons pianos.


Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel. The day Callie plays her father's piano, the biggest dust storm yet comes and takes her mother away. When Callie goes after her, she discovers her mother's mortal, but her long-missing father is a prince of the faerie Unseelie court. So Callie is a princess, but also a pawn in a political game she doesn't understand. The differences between the UnSeelie and Seelie courts in this book are racial, and faeries love music-- so for Callie it's jazz and ragtime. The first in a trilogy, follow it with Golden Girl.

Piano: The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand by James Barron. While looking at the building of a Steinway concert grand piano, Barron examines the history of the Steinway company and how their pianos have evolved over time.

Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs by Ron Koertge. In this verse novel, Shakespeare is torn between his girlfriend, Mira, and Amy-- a pianist who also writes poetry and just wants to be "poetry friends." On top of this, he has to deal with his father's dating life and, of course, baseball. This is a sequel to Shakespeare Bats Cleanup, so read that one first.

What books about piano players are your must reads?

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