The Color of Sound

Carolrhoda. Mar. 2024. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781728487779.
Gr 3-7–Rosie is a 12-year-old violin prodigy, but she is hiding her feelings, her fears, her hopes, and her synesthesia—she experiences sound as colors. Rosie and her mom go to Connecticut for the summer to stay with grandparents she barely knows; her grandmother is dying of dementia and often doesn’t know her. Rosie refuses to continue the grueling violin practices and performances that she believes prevent her from being a regular tween girl enjoying sleepovers and crushes. But she doesn’t throw a tantrum; it is a considered decision that her parents might better understand if they truly listened to her. As a result of tensions with her mom, Rosie spends time with her grandfather who shows her their family history, decimated and traumatized by the tragedies of the Holocaust. Encounters with a young girl, Shanna, on the farm lead to a tentative friendship and gives Rosie an understanding of the impact of growing up in an entirely different family structure. Rosie is able, in her gracious way, not only to learn from Shanna but to also help teach and guide her mother to a place of better understanding. Isler crafts an exceptionally honest portrayal of complicated mother-daughter dynamics, and a protagonist whose independence and kindness is a stunning solo.
VERDICT A top pick for any middle school collection; a perfect book club pick and a reminder to all that patience and understanding can change lives.

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