Pitch Perfect and Persistent!

With perfect pitch and fierce persistence, Amy Beach always knew she had to make music! There was just one BIG problem. Her mother believed it was not proper or suitable for a young lady to draw attention to herself, let alone take on a musical career. But give in or give up? Not Amy Beach. She demanded to play the piano. Demanded to have a real teacher. Demanded to perform. Luckily—for the world!—Amy’s persistence paid off. At just sixteen years old, Amy Beach found herself on the stage of Boston’s Music Hall—and the start of a brilliant career. A female composer who paved the way—perfectly!
Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Educational Resources

Reviews

★ “A profile of the early life of a 19th-century musical prodigy. . . Carefully chosen details paint a portrait of a remarkable young person.”

–Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“In a picture book exploration of the childhood of composer and musician Amy Cheney Beach (1867–1944), DeLems spotlights a barrier-breaking feminist in the male-dominated 19th-century music industry. DeLems focuses on Cheney Beach’s childhood through her stage debut, energizing detail-rich text with interspersed staccato sentences and all-caps emphasis, while Jay’s crackled illustrations establish the mood of her rural upbringing through earth-toned paintings.”

–Publishers Weekly

“Folk-art-style illustrations and lively text introduce a musical prodigy whose impact and reputation were diminished by 19th-century attitudes toward women.”

–Bank Street College of Education “The Best Children’s Books of the Year” 2024 List

“Paired with Jay’s vibrant illustrations, with a cracked-paint-like texture that pops off the page like paintings of the period, this lively tale will introduce young readers to a new and important historical figure who—in ways such as playing by ear or memory to linking colors with sounds—proves a truly remarkable figure. This charming introduction to Beach’s life and career is explored in further historical detail in the extensive back matter.”

–Booklist

“DeLems shares Beach’s accomplishments with a sprightly text. Jay’s signature artwork illuminates the young woman’s rise to fame with bright ­yellows and sky blues. The lively narrative and images combine to give a rambunctious feel to the work. An author’s note, time line, ­period photos, musical glossary, and bibliography are included in the back matter. Readers will be inspired by her verve and dedication. A joyous picture book biography about a little known, gifted female musician, that would make a great choice for most nonfiction shelves.”

—School Library Journal

“This delightful book will introduce young readers to the brilliant American composer Amy Beach. Carefully researched, as well as full of fun and whimsy, this book provides insight into her growth and work as a musician.”

–Liane Curtis, PhD, President, Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy

“The greatest American musician of the late 19th century was…a girl? Yes indeed! The extraordinary Amy Cheney Beach comes to vivid life in this fabulous picture-book biography. Thanks to Caitlin DeLems and artist Alison Jay, youngsters can now discover the amazing Amy Beach and be inspired to follow their dream.”

-JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra