The Girl Who Heard the Music: How One Pianist and 85,000 Bottles and Cans Brought New Hope to an Island

by Marni Fogelson (Author) Marta Álvarez Miguéns (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

The true story of award-winning pianist and environmental activist Mahani Teave and the beloved island she is helping to save.

Imagine living on a tiny island more than a thousand miles from any other inhabited place! That's where a girl named Mahani lived--on Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island. Mahani grew up taking music lessons on the island's only piano. She had the talent to become a great pianist, but pursuing that dream meant leaving the home she loved.

As Mahani toured the world as an acclaimed concert pianist, Rapa Nui stayed close to her heart. She knew the island struggled with problems like ocean trash and wondered how she could help. So she returned to Rapa Nui with a new dream--to build a music school!

The unique building is constructed with recycled trash and has solar panels and a food garden. Now Mahani is helping build a more sustainable future for her island home--where the music continues.

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Accompanied by vibrant, delightful visuals, this upbeat and fascinating story will leave readers feeling as though they, too, can make a difference when it comes to helping the planet.


Grades K-3. Álvarez Miguéns folds cultural details into almost every scene, such as callbacks to the Rapanui who carved the island’s Moai (statues) and the incorporation of bright, floral fabrics and traditional instruments and dances. 

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Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Sourcebooks Explore
Publication date
April 20, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV031040 - Juvenile Fiction | Performing Arts | Music
JUV063000 - Juvenile Fiction | Recycling & Green Living
JUV039290 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Activism & Social Justice
Library of Congress categories
Easter Island
Teave, Mahani

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