In One Ear and Out the Other: Antonia Brico and Her Amazingly Musical Life

Penny Candy. (Amazing Women). Oct. 2020. 48p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781734225914.
Gr 2-5–The second title in the “Amazing Women” nonfiction picture book series spotlights Antonia Louisa Brico (1902–89), a Dutch-born white American pianist. While not a household name, the trailblazing conductor and musician is an indomitable figure in women’s history. Brico spent her life fighting for an equal place in the male-dominated industry of early 20th-century conducting. Abandoned by her foster parents, underestimated by her male teachers, and scorned by major orchestras, Brico faced a constant onslaught of discouraging voices. However, she never let the critics stop her and she slowly gained recognition and respect. Back matter includes a time line of Brico’s life. Although she didn’t reach her goal of obtaining a permanent, full-time appointment with a major symphony orchestra, her accomplishments were remarkable. The collage-style illustrations, saturated in blues and greens, pop off the page. The depiction of period dress wonderfully showcases the passing of decades. Brief biographies of other women conductors highlight the far-reaching influence of resilient and determined pioneers like Brico.
VERDICT An inspiring choice for biography collections, especially appealing to music lovers and history enthusiasts.

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