Title: The Girl Who Heard the Music
Author: Marni Fogelson with Mahani Teave
Major Themes: Mahani Teave, Easter Island, Rapa Nui, Music, Conservation
Synopsis: Growing up on Easter Island, Mahani learned to love music; as an adult, she helped improve the lives of her fellow islanders.
My 8-year-old daughter was delighted this afternoon when I offered to read The Girl Who Heard the Music to her. I was surprised by it; I had the idea that it was set in quite a different part of the world than it actually was. I believe this is the first picture book I have ever come across that was set on Easter Island (Rapa Nui)! There are a lot of fascinating themes in this beautiful book.
When Mahani was young, there were very few musical instruments on her home island of Rapa Nui. People sang all the time, and they had ukeleles, but she was fascinated with the music and instruments that visitors to the island had. However, they always took their instruments with them when they left. When one person brought a piano and gave Mahani music lessons, she suddenly figured out how to read the music. Now she could play anything! Her musical ability took her around the world.
On Mahani’s visits back home, she started seeing that trash was becoming a major problem for Easter Island. What could she do about it? With the help of many others, she came up with a use for a lot of the trash, which also benefited the people of her homeland. Their Rapa Nui School of Music and the Arts soon opened with a concert.
We found the idea of a building constructed from trash very fascinating, and did some research online to learn more about it. There are a few pages of interesting facts at the end of The Girl Who Heard the Music, about Mahani and her school, and some general facts about Rapa Nui and its culture. By reading this picture book biography, children will learn about Easter Island, and also about music and caring for the environment
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12