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Playing from the Heart by Peter H. Reynolds — Book Recommendation

playing_from_the_heart_coverTitle: Playing from the Heart

Author/Illustrator: Peter H. Reynolds

Publisher: Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2016

Genre: Picture book, fiction

Audience Age: 5 and up

Themes/topics: connecting through music, parent/child connections

Opening Sentences: The piano stood quietly in the living room for years. Until the day Raj first plunked and pushed the keys, delighted by every sound.

Synopsis: Raj not only delights in the sounds the piano makes, he discovers he can create his own songs, expressing all that’s in his heart, he just needs to “mix the notes the way he mixed his watercolors.” His father starts Raj with piano lessons, but the more technically skilled he becomes, the less joy and freedom he finds in the music. Eventually the piano becomes silent again until one day, when his father needs it most…


Find a piano, whether you’ve played before or not, whether you’ve been taking lessons for years or not. Explore the different sounds the piano can make. “Mix the notes the way you’d mix your watercolors” and see what lovely or scary or funny melodies you can come up with!

Here’s a wonderful blog post from Peter H. Reynolds about Playing from the Heart.

There’s a great question and answer video with Peter H. Reynolds on the Candlewick Press YouTube channel.

Click here for links to notes from various Candlewick authors – find the one about Playing from the Heart.

Availability: Readily available at bookstores, libraries and online. How about going to an independent bookstore or ordering the book from a bookstore like Peter’s own Blue Bunny Books and Toys in Massachusetts?

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One Comment

  1. I like playing keyboard instruments, and I know a little basic technique, but I really know nothing about playing. (I can barely play with both hands as well). I already sympathize with Raj. 🙂 Great choice! 🙂

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