How Isaac Stern United the World to Save Carnegie Hall
Illustrated by Katie Hickey
(Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins)
Also available via Harper360 (Australian & UK editions)
From the acclaimed author of BARTALI’S BICYCLE comes the inspiring story of violin virtuoso Isaac Stern and his mission to save the beloved Carnegie Hall from demolition.
With talented artists like Duke Ellington and Albert Einstein gracing its stage, Carnegie Hall quickly became a place where all people—no matter their skin color, religion, or social status—could come together under one roof to be entertained. People like Isaac Stern. The son of Jewish immigrants who fled war-torn Ukraine for America to escape the Holocaust, Isaac was a talented violinist whose dream of one day performing on Carnegie Hall’s legendary stage came true, many times over. So when a real estate tycoon sets out to demolish Carnegie Hall, Isaac knew something had to be done to preserve decades of hopes, dreams, and inclusivity.
The true story of one man’s fight to save a historical landmark whose timeless symbol of equality will forever stand the test of time.
“Music, history, and social justice combine [in this], a true love letter to Carnegie Hall…”
“How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice.
(And thanks to the Herculean efforts of Isaac Stern.) You’ll be shouting “Bravo!”“
“[Stern’s] message—‘”When you believe in something, you can move mountains!”’—is a good one for children to hear, and this story is a great way to introduce the famous fiddler and his favorite performance venue to the next generation of music lovers. Back matter includes a timeline, notes on Carnegie Hall and Isaac Stern, source notes, and the text of the petition to save Carnegie Hall.”
“Hoyt pays tribute not just to the renowned violinist but to a unique cultural institution that has hosted many luminaries. Young readers will doubtless be left duly appreciative of both. Compelling.”
“THE GREATEST SONG OF ALL is easily one of my favorite picture book biographies … Written in beautiful prose that uses the five senses to place the reader in Carnegie Hall and New York, it’s complemented by sophisticated illustrations that depict a diverse, vibrant city. Themes of fortitude, celebration of the arts, immigration, community voice, and the big difference one person can make, are seamlessly woven into this superbly told and illustrated tale.“
“Whether you are traveling to New York City or teaching a unit on activism, teaching about Carnegie Hall in music class, or looking to focus on ELA standards for figurative language and literary devices, this book literally has something for everyone.”
Fun fact: NYC concert halls have a special place in Megan’s heart for one very important reason—they are where her parents first met! Both were symphony musicians who regularly played in pit orchestras around town. Her mother was a violinist like Isaac Stern, and her father played the viola and French horn. After a concert one night, for their first official date, her parents strolled over to the nearby Carnegie Deli for cheesecake. Her father never shared food with anyone, but he shared his cheesecake with her mother that night after the show. The rest, as they say, is history.
“The struggle to save Carnegie Hall seemed to line up with the struggle of Isaac Stern’s family to escape a life of uncertainty and anti-semitism in Ukraine. I mined a deeper vein and found another theme to wind through the story—racism has no power once the music begins! I researched who performed at Carnegie Hall and discovered that this beautiful building also housed meetings of the NAACP, synagogues, churches from Catholic to Presbyterian, and musicians of all skin tones. I added another layer, the beauty of diversity. This idea that a community can come together for a common cause gave me another vein to mine—unity! And another—activism!” —Megan Hoyt
How did your musical background influence or inform the way you wrote THE GREATEST SONG OF ALL? MH: I tried to make the sentences lilting and lyrical, especially on the first page where the audience is gathered, anticipating the first concert at Carnegie Hall. I wanted the words and sentences to swish and flow across the heart like music, as it’s read aloud.
Have you always been drawn to stories of history’s unsung heroes? I think how each individual person chooses to live their lives can be so inspiring to the rest of us—even if the person was not a hero but just someone who brightened their little corner of the world. MH: It is what knits the fabric of a society together. I am especially drawn to telling children about people whose accomplishments are close to being forgotten as time marches forward. I have a few more biographies in the works that I hope will inspire, educate, and entertain children growing up in these times of uncertainty.
Carnegie Hall is considered a “timeless symbol of equality,” and yet it was in danger of being torn down. What do you hope young readers will take away from Isaac Stern’s quest to preserve it?
To learn how a famous concert violinist helped unite the world to save one of NYC’s most elegant architectural treasures, order a signed copy here.
Stay tuned for two more PB biographies from Quill Tree Books/HC, both acquired by Karen Chaplin (as featured on the left below): A GRAND IDEA: HOW WILLIAM WILGUS CREATED THE GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL and KATI’S TINY MESSENGERS: DR. KATALIN KARIKO AND THE BATTLE AGAINST COVID-19, plus a soon-to-be-announced picture book coming out with Jewish publisher Apples and Honey Press.
This hilarious and heartwarming ode to words and conquering one’s fear reminds us that friendship can be found in unexpected places.
For fans of THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES and THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK, this funny and interactive picture book showcases a word-eating monster and the (adorable) surprise behind this frightful creature.
Beware: There is a sleeping monster within these pages. But this is no ordinary monster. This monster eats words. And when the monster is awake, it gets HUNGRY. So you have to be very careful and very quiet while reading.
If you hear a growl―run fast.
Oh no, what’s that? The monster’s woken up! How are we supposed to finish this book when all the words are being eaten? And who―or what―is this fearsome creature exactly? The answer to that question, I’m afraid, is totally… adorable.
“A whimsical metanarrative turns a pleasantly scary monster into readers’ new best friend… Visual humor and brightly colored monsters set against uncluttered backgrounds make this a good read-aloud.”
A hilarious fourth-wall breaking picture book from the award-winning author and illustrator duo of the WHEN PENCIL MET ERASER trilogy of picture books…
Karen Kilpatrick knows her ABC’s and likes to tell stories, so she makes up combinations of words on the computer. She also is a mom of three, runs a nonprofit called Authors4Education, is the Marketing Chair on the board of directors for Women in Toys, created the plush toy brand MeBears, and occasionally agents, lawyers, and consults.
Germán Blanco likes doodling so he draws some caricatures and then puts them on the computer, voila. He is also a graphic designer, a former Creative Director for a global toy company, and a member of the board of directors for Authors4Education.
Happy Book Birthday
2979 Days to the Moon
by Suzanne Slade
illustrated by award-winning
The captivating true story of NASA’s effort to land the first man on the Moon, told through powerful free verse and stunning illustrations.
Now available in paperback
A patriotic testament to American grit and ingenuity, COUNTDOWN presents exhilarating, informative, and accessible free verse by award-winning author Suzanne Slade paired with historic photographs and detailed illustrations by NYT bestselling illustrator Thomas Gonzalez. Together, they capture the gripping historic story of NASA’s twentieth century efforts to conquer a new space frontier.
Through triumph and tragedy, success and failure, an entire nation is glued to the high-stakes, 2,979-day mission as eighteen astronauts climb into spacecraft; three men die before even leaving the ground; eight rockets soar into space; and 400,000 people-engineers, technicians, scientists, mathematicians, and machinists-join Project Apollo in pursuit of making a dream a reality.
This stunning illustrated MG nonfiction book in verse teems with timely messages of STEAM, space exploration, trial and error, and collaboration.
Click image above to watch trailer.
three starred reviews,
a Parents’ Choice Gold Award,
and was named an
Outstanding Science Trade Book
for Students K-12.
“Gonzalez (Seven and a Half Tons of Steel) extends the realistic precision and lyrical imagery with vivid mixed-media illustrations that stun with photographic realism and varied perspectives…this well-researched title offers a stirring introduction to one of humankind’s most impressive undertakings.”
Truly out of this world.”
Deborah Warren and Kathy Landwehr, VP and Associate Publisher at Peachtree
Upcoming in paperback:
The first book in the
“Life in the Extreme” series…
Stay tuned for Tom’s next PB, OCTOPUS—a second n/f collaboration with Suzanne Slade following COUNTDOWN.
Happy Book Birthday
VELOZ COMO EL GRILLO/
QUICK AS A CRICKET
(Spanish bilingual board book)
Written & illustrated by the bestselling, award-winning creators
Audrey & Don Wood
A joyful celebration of self-awareness and acceptance known and loved by millions of children around the world, now with art remastered by the illustrator.
in Board Book format
Social emotional learning
at its best!
A fun collection of simile phrases – “I’m as slow as a snail; I’m as small as an ant” — allows a child to compare himself to all sorts of wildly different animals, discover different emotions, and to practice a variety of physical behaviors. The ultimate message: you can feel different things at different times and all of those feelings are valid!
This cheerful read-aloud reinforces the concept of individuality and feeling good about one’s self. Think conversations about self-esteem, self-reliance and reassurance.
Also available in a remastered Spanish bilingual edition:
This classic story is beloved for its humor, expressive illustrations, and surprise ending—
pure read aloud fun!
in Board Book format
Both U.S. “recaptured” editions are available in remastered paper-over-board, paperback, board, and Big book formats.
The soft and hard cover versions, published in 1982, have sold over 1,000,000 copies.
Also available in 9 other versions, including a Spanish bilingual edition:
And CONGRATS to the Woods’ Caldecott Honor book, KING BIDGOOD’S IN THE BATHTUB,
celebrating its 37th year in print!
Audrey and Don Wood have received numerous accolades and awards, including the Caldecott Honor, for their children’s books that have delighted the hearts and minds of countless children around the world.
Books like THE NAPPING HOUSE, KING BIDGOOD’S IN THE BATHTUB, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR show a playful and gentle harmony between the writing and the illustrations, and reflect Audrey and Don’s understanding of a child’s sense of wonder.
Junior Library Guild has licensed English language book club rights to the upcoming A LIFE OF SERVICE: THE STORY OF SENATOR TAMMY DUCKWORTH (Soontornvat; Candlewick), illustrated by Dow Phumiruk.
Amazon Kids+ has licensed non-exclusive U.S. and Canadian subscription rights to Jim Averbeck’s LOVE BY SOPHIA (Ismail; Atheneum) – the third book in the “Sophia” series following ONE WORD FOR SOPHIA and TWO PROBLEMS FOR SOPHIA.
Scholastic has renewed school book club paperback rights to Gianna Marino’s adorably silly bedtime book, NIGHT ANIMALS (Viking/PRH).
SIZZLING summer news!
In addition to the accolades below, Megan E. Freeman’s debut NIV, ALONE — “Hatchet for a new age” (Kirkus) –
is a Colorado Book Awards winner. CONGRATULATIONS!
ALONE is also an Indie Bound Bestseller… for 7 weeks running!
And on the bestseller list at S & S, too!
… highlighting nonfiction works that promote an understanding of cultures, cultivate cooperation and/or encourage a deeper awareness of nature, ecology, and diversity.
The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers nominated Stacia Deutsch’s JESSIE FILES: FRIENDSHIP FEATURE (Albert Whitman) for a 2022 SCRIBE AWARD [Best Original Novel in the MG/YA category] honoring excellence in licensed tie-in writing.
Stay tuned for more books in the JESSIE FILES series this fall!
Stacia at the SCRIBE award panel and ceremony at Comic Con.
“Like tissue paper held up to a sunny window, Portis’s pictures have the glow of stained glass, offering texture and inviting readers to come a little closer to see what she has created … Complicated scientific principles are rendered simply and gracefully in scenes that seem to deliver a dose of Vitamin D. VERDICT As with all of Portis’s books, natural science is served sunny-side up, without a word out of place, in this essential guide.”
It’s a STAR for award-winning Alma Fullerton’s FLIPPING FORWARD TWISTING BACKWARD
“Fullerton (No More Plastic) authentically and compassionately portrays cued-white fifth grader Claire’s experience with dyslexia in this easily digestible verse novel. … Printed in a typeface formatted for those with reading challenges, Fullerton’s flowing verse adeptly captures what dyslexia is like for Claire alongside her frustration around convincing her mother that she’s trying hard but needs assistance. This insightful story carries a strong message for teachers, caregivers, and children alike, and Mensinga’s emotive illustrations provide depth throughout.”—PW
Dragons Love Tacos meets Where the Wild Things Are in this rollicking story about the mishaps of a best friend duo from debut author and illustrator Gela Kalaitzidis.
Upcoming from Innovation Press:
At once a celebration of the deep connection creatives have with their art and an acknowledgement of the courage it takes to let it into the sun, this beautifully illustrated picture book written by Katey Howes and illustrated by Heather Brockman Lee encourages readers to nurture their talents and boldly share them with the world.
Where is East/West?
Stay tuned for Marie’s debut PB, JUST A WORM (Greenwillow/HC) – the first of two — coming out next year.