Discover the untold yet inspiring story of Amy Beach, musician extraordinaire and the first successful woman composer in America.
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!
About the Author
Debut author Caitlin DeLems enjoys playing piano and violin and the magic of symphony concert halls. She delights in the discovery of unknown and determined female artists who are role models for young girls. Caitlin's second picture book biography—on another little-known woman composer—is forthcoming. Caitlin lives with her husband in the California Sierra Nevadas.
Alison Jay has been drawing and painting since she was a child. She is the illustrator of many picture books, including A Lady Has the Floor and The Pig War. Her signature style is created using alkyd paint on thick cartridge paper, with a crackle varnish, giving an aged effect.
★ “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
"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
"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
"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
“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. With charm, humor, and honesty, Caitlin DeLems writes the story that needs to be shared with children and adults alike. Against all odds, the genius of Amy Beach triumphed over the challenges of her time, societal constraints, and prejudice. Why did I have to wait until I was in my twenties to learn about this astonishing musician? 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
“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. Amy Beach is brought to life through beautiful illustrations, engaging prose, and quotations. And the end matter encourages readers to visit historical sites or learn more about Beach and her illustrious career.” —Liane Curtis, PhD, President, Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy