Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, June 12, 2023

The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music by Robert Flack with Tonya Bolden

The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music

by Roberta Flack with Tonya Bolden; Illustrated by Hayden Goodman

Anne Schwartz books. an Imprint of Random House Children’s Books.


In this picture book biography, Roberta Flack, partnered with the amazing Tonya Bolden, shares her journey of how she came to be a five-time Grammy Award winner.

“It all started with a green piano.”

Music was a huge part of Roberta’s life growing up. Her father played the piano and harmonica. Her mother played piano in church. Her parents where so proud of Roberta’s gift that when she was three or four, she played at church. 

“I’d use my elbows on the ebonies

because my fingers were too short.

Mother and Daddy were so tickled by that —

and so proud of me.”

Even though her family was poor, they supported Roberta’s talent by making sure she had piano lessons, and, one day, her very own piano. Rescued from a junk yard, her parents cleaned it, tuned it, and painted it green. 

I practiced for hours and hours. Teaching myself to play songs from the radio.”

This very entertaining story features an author’s note where Roberta gives more details about her musical journey. She explains, “I decided to tell the story about my green piano because I want all the young people who have ever felt marginalized, overwhelmed, bullied, or discriminated against to know they can make their dreams come true.”  

A career highlights timeline is also included.

The narrative and illustrations by Goodman make a perfect harmony.

Another great addition to the growing titles about exceptional women. 

Click here to hear Robert discuss this book on NPR. 

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