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An honest portrayal of a young girl's emotional journey amid family upheavals.

Nine-year-old Emily is trying to cope with her changing world. When her father and mother grow further apart, the family's piano -- Emily's link to the good times that once flooded her home -- is sold. She decides the key to the happiness her family used to share is the piano, and so she must find it.

Believing the instrument is most likely in a part of town where rich people live, Emily sets out on her search. She knocks on many doors without success, but carries on, determined to end the darkness that has descended on her home. Finally a piano teacher gives her a lead. Though the days pass slowly, she eventually receives the anticipated call. "Be there Sunday at 1 p.m. sharp," she's told.

It turns out the piano is now in a convent, where it sits in the middle of a room, like royalty. Sister
Isabelle tells Emily she can come by any Sunday, and she can bring her mother too.

The first time Emily's mother sees the piano, she plays, sings, and cries. The darkness in their lives slowly tiptoes away as Emily and her mother rediscover happiness and the healing power music brings.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781550379129
Publisher: Annick Press, Limited
Publication date: 09/03/2005
Pages: 64
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Charlotte Gingras is the award-winning author of nine books for young readers. She lives in Montreal.

Stéphane Jorisch is the illustrator of more than a dozen books for children and a winner of multiple Governor General's Awards. He lives in Montreal.

Read an Excerpt

Our mother cried

The piano is gone. The flowered couch, too. And my parents' bed. We've gone in one direction, my grandma in another. It's a terrible monstrous move. The day before, I heard my father say to my mom, in a voice not to be argued with, "We'll sell the piano and some of the furniture. There won't be enough room in the new apartment."

It's true the piano was out of tune, abandoned at the back of the long living room. No one had played it for years. I was the only one who still visited it, stroking its sides, sitting under its belly to read or daydream.

In our home, we didn't celebrate Christmas or birthdays anymore. There was so much empty space, even with my grandma shut in her bedroom, that I could hear my steps echo in the hallway.

I didn't get to see the move. That day, one of my big sisters babysat me at her place and forced me to play with my whining nephew. "Emily," she ordered, "pick up the baby's toys. Emily, change the baby's diaper." I stood with my arms crossed, without moving, or speaking. My twin sisters treat me like their servant.

The next Sunday, my other sister said to her twin, "Wasn't it strange the way our mother cried when they took away the piano?" Of course she cried! My sisters are so clueless. They never understand anything.

I still wonder how the movers managed to get the piano out of the apartment. The front door wouldn't have been wide enough. Maybe they took it through the dining room window. But then, how did they get it down the winding staircase?

I miss our piano.

Table of Contents

Our mother cried
My hand hurt
About to collapse
As the world shrinks
My mean-mouthed sisters
The hill district
The cracked key
I feel like hitting my mom
I'm sorry, Emily
A big, fat tree
The last Sunday

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