The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music

Listening Library. Jul. 2023. 24p. $5. ISBN 9780593793237.
Gr 2-5–“Little Me” is pop legend Roberta Flack, who grew up in North Carolina, without “fancy-fine clothes, high-priced toys, or other richy-rich things.” What she had was music: her self-taught father played harmonica and piano, her mother the church organ. At “three, maybe four,” Flack was already performing at church, but she longed for a piano of her own. After the family’s move to Virginia, her father rescued an “old, ratty, beat-up, weather-worn, faded thing” from a DC junkyard and lovingly resurrected it into nine-year-old Roberta’s miraculous green piano, enabling her talents to flourish. “Grown-up me lived this dream!” The appended author’s note and career time line make illuminating additions.
VERDICT Lauded author Bolden assists Flack in telling her remarkable story; actor Freeman embodies their text, adapting her rich voice to “little me” of various ages, often over snippets of complementary music, from Beethoven to Flack’s own “Killing Me Softly.”

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