Review of The Greatest Song of All: How Isaac Stern United the World to Save Carnegie Hall

The Greatest Song of All: How Isaac Stern United the World to Save Carnegie Hall The Greatest Song of All: How Isaac Stern United the World to Save Carnegie Hall
by Megan Hoyt; illus. by Katie Hickey
Primary, Intermediate    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    40 pp.   g
7/22    978-0-06-304527-9    $18.99

This picture-book biography tells the story of virtuoso violinist Isaac Stern, with an emphasis on his commitment to preserving the crown jewel of American concert venues. Stern’s parents were Jewish immigrants who fled war-torn Ukraine in the 1920s. Isaac’s mother recognized her son’s talents at a young age and worked hard to get him the best teachers; by his teenage years he was “concertizing” all across the country. His love of New York City’s Carnegie Hall began with a recital in 1943, and he ­performed there more than fifty times over his career. (“‘This is my room,’ he said. And it was.”) In 1960, when the magnificent hall was slated for demolition, Stern shifted gears to become a community organizer, fundraiser, and political power broker, working to save the building and ultimately making it a National Historic Landmark. As Hoyt explains in clear, engaging text, this was no easy feat. Hickey’s finely detailed digital cartoons place Stern in the spotlight, capturing his ceaseless energy and stalwart efforts. His 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 violin player 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.

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Luann Toth
Luann Toth

Luann Toth is a former reviews editor at School Library Journal. She holds an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.

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