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Picture Book Review: Dancing Hands

Dancing Hands

Children's Books

Picture Book Review: Dancing Hands

Gorgeous illustrations draw you in to this fantastic and interesting true life story.

We received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review Date: October 21st, 2019

Written By: Margarita Engle
Illustrated By: Rafael López

Cover Copy

As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loves to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals.

Then a revolution in Venezuela drove her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too—a Civil War.

Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House! Yet with the country torn apart by war, could Teresa’s music bring comfort to those who needed it most?

Dancing Hands


Gorgeous illustrations draw you in to this fantastic and interesting true life story. This has been one of the few non-fiction picture books that held my attention throughout the story. Sometimes, they’re far too long for my taste and drag somewhat. But this has a nice balance of story and imagery. And the story itself is interesting. I mean, a little girl so good at piano she was the star of the show? That’s impressive and interesting! It’s really neat to see what led her to play for the president. I don’t know if Madeline can appreciate the role of president at this point, since she doesn’t watch the news or ever hear him speak. But even without her understanding of the president, the rest of the accomplishments of Teresa are enough to dazzle on their own.

Dancing Hands

Kid Ratings

  • Font Readability: 10/10
  • Kid Engagement: 9/10
  • Mommy Engagement: 9/10

Reader, Author, Bookstagrammer, and Mom; Alexis runs Nerdy Post, a fandom artwork box as well as serves as chief editor and writer on Drop and Give me Nerdy.

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