Playing from the Heart
by Peter H. Reynolds
Candlewick Press, 2016
Raj discovers piano and, with a natural talent and no lessons, creates dreamy music that floats through his house. He is given piano lessons and his songs become more familiar, crisp and precise. Yet, while he plays better, he gets more and more tired, until one day he quits playing. Many years later, his father asks him to play a song. Reluctantly he moves to the piano. Then his father asks him to play, “The song without a name,” Raj returns to his early passion and notes emerge whispery and sweet.
The story subtly reminds readers to return to and stay focused on the heart in pursuing their passions. Pursing ‘perfection’ over ‘joy’ can tarnish and end a joy.
Peter H Reynolds black and white drawings with musical notes featured in color splashes, portrays a whispery, whimsical feel to the music expressed. Reynolds believes, “Creativity thrives on bravery and originality” and the book does an exquisite job of instilling this in young readers.