Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle

Image result for dancing hands how teresa carreño played the piano for president lincoln

Being a self-proclaimed Lincoln nerd (or “scholar” if I’m trying to impress people), I had never run across this story before. Naturally, I scurried off to do a bit of research after I finished this picture book biography of Teresa Carreno, a young pianist prodigy who came to the White House to perform for Lincoln.

This is primarily a story of Carreno’s immigrant experience as she and her family escaped revolutionary violence in Venezuela, only to find a civil war raging in their new country, and few, if anyone, in the Northeast U.S. able to speak Spanish.

Still, music was the universal language that she used to communicate happiness and joy, especially to a president so weighed down with grief.