Skip to Main Content

About The Book

Inspired by stories from her mother’s childhood, acclaimed author Margarita Engle and award-winning artist John Parra have crafted a vibrant picture book about a young girl and her family who find joy in the music flowing from outside their window.

Eloísa loves music, but with her family too poor to buy a radio, she can only hear it when rhythms and melodies drift through her open window. Birds and cats raise their voices in daily choruses, and songs from a neighbor’s radio travel through the air. On the street below, children shake maracas and beat a steady rhythm on bongo drums and a lute, a cowbell, and un güiro round out the orchestra.

The sounds of her neighborhood are music enough for Eloísa, but when Mamá gets sick and the family can’t afford medicine, can la música soothe her the way it’s always comforted Eloísa?

About The Author

Photograph (c) Shevaun Williams

Margarita Engle is the Cuban American author of many books including the verse novels Rima’s RebellionYour Heart, My SkyWith a Star in My HandThe Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor winner; and The Lightning Dreamer. Her verse memoirs include Soaring Earth and Enchanted Air, which received the Pura Belpré Award, a Walter Dean Myers Award Honor, and was a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, among others. Her picture books include Drum Dream GirlDancing Hands, and The Flying Girl. Visit her at

About The Illustrator

Photo courtesy of the author

John Parra’s illustrations for Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, written by Monica Brown, earned the book a New York Times Best Illustrated Book designation. He also illustrated Green Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Thong, which received a Pura Belpré Honor and the Américas Book Award: Commended; Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner, which won the Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration and was a Bank Street Best Book of the year; and Hey, Wall, by Susan Verde, which School Library Journal called “a must-purchase” in a starred review. Learn more at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (August 27, 2024)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665935289
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

★ “Drawing from her mother’s childhood stories, Engle tells a tale of everyday inspiration, propelled by a lilting text that reverberates. . . . A harmonious triumph.”

Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Based on family stories that Engle’s mother once shared about her childhood in Cuba, this tale celebrates the power of music, family, and community. . . .Parra’s digitally enhanced acrylic paintings have the directness, the warmth, and narrative quality of folk art, while placing the story within a distinctive setting. A heartening picture book.”


Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Margarita Engle

More books from this illustrator: John Parra