Song in the City

by Daniel Bernstrom (Author) Jenin Mohammed (Illustrator)

Song in the City
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

From Daniel Bernstrom, the acclaimed author of One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree, comes a charming and irresistibly fun picture book about a young blind girl and her grandmother who experience the vibrant everyday music of their busy city.

A young girl, filled with the sounds of her beloved city, shares a song with her grandmother that changes the two forever. After helping Grandma realize that the city makes music as beautiful as the sounds they hear in church on Sunday morning, the two sit down and take in all the sounds of the city...together.

Song in the City bridges the gap between generations of music and family, while centering love, understanding, and joy.

Find books about:

Kirkus Reviews

An eye-catching, toe-tapping celebration of the melodies in everyday sounds.

Publishers Weekly

Using a white cane, a blind child named Emmalene, who cues as Black, navigates her city home with her distracted grandmother, describing "a sing-along song, / a busy city symphony" en route to church. Lively rhymes by Bernstrom (Big Papa and the Time Machine) emphasize the musicality of all Emmalene hears on the Sunday morning trip: as Emmalene and her grandmother head to the bus, Emmalene asks her grandma, "Did you hear that pretty ditty?" But Grandma Jean doesn't appreciate the same sounds: "What you're hearing is commotion./ Oh, my child, what a notion!/ That is traffic you are hearing, not a song." When Grandma Jean prefers the church's choir to the "backhoe drumming... city sirens humming... clap-clap-clapping of the pitter-patting rain," Emmalene conveys frustration until, finally, Grandma Jean sits down in a pew and promises to listen: "The song and city filled Grandma Jean's ears." In blocks of color reminiscent of stained glass, illustrations by Mohammed (Super Mom) emphasize robust motion and reverberating sounds, centering the way Emmalene perceives the world--dogs barking, a bus engine rumbling, a marching band marching, and more--combining with onomatopoeic text to create an adventurous symphony for the senses. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Brenda Bowen, Book Group. Illustrator's agent: Christy Ewers, CAT Agency. (Sept.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Song in the City is a delightful book about experiencing delight—and finding a way to share it with someone we love. — Susan Marie Swanson, Award-winning Poet and Author

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Amistad Books for Young Readers
Publication date
September 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV013030 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Multigenerational
JUV015020 - Juvenile Fiction | Health & Daily Living | Diseases, Illnesses & Injuries
JUV023000 - Juvenile Fiction | Lifestyles | City & Town Life
JUV009050 - Juvenile Fiction | Concepts | Senses & Sensation
JUV031040 - Juvenile Fiction | Performing Arts | Music
JUV039150 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Special Needs
JUV014000 - Juvenile Fiction | Girls & Women
Library of Congress categories

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!