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Reviewed by Jennie More for Readers' Favorite
An Instrument for Florenda by Tomeko Brown and Christopher Smallwood is about a young girl who wants to learn to play the clarinet after the school announces that they are introducing their first band after the summer vacation. The school hired a teacher who had played in the orchestra to instruct them. Excited about the new band and the possibility of playing the clarinet at the Winter Concert, Florenda speaks to her mom about buying her a clarinet as she would like to join the band. Florenda goes with her mother to the store to look at clarinets, but after hearing the price, Florenda’s mom informs her that she can’t afford it. Devastated by the news, Florenda worked multiple jobs throughout her summer vacation to buy a clarinet, determined to achieve her dream.
An Instrument for Florenda by Tomeko Brown and Christopher Smallwood is a delightful and inspirational book that teaches children about the beauty of dreams and how hard work and persistence pays off. Brown and Smallwood encourage youngsters never to give up because there is always a solution to every stumbling block and that when you put in the work, others will notice and help you on your journey. Another key message was that everyone is bad at something when they get started, but practice makes perfect, and to never give up on your dreams. Florenda’s determination is an inspiration to children and adults alike. I enjoyed reading this sweet, beautifully written, and heartwarming story about a little girl who chases her dreams and doesn’t let anything stand in her way.