Could life get more embarrassing?Mariangela longs to play the piano; but when her Italian immigrant family arranges for accordion lessons instead, she can't contain her disappointment. Who wants to be
Could life get more embarrassing?
Mariangela longs to play the piano; but when her Italian immigrant family arranges for accordion lessons instead, she can't contain her disappointment. Who wants to be strapped to such a heavy, ugly old thing? But before she knows it, a mortified Mariangela is dragging the old accordion in a red wagon through the streets of Vancouver to her lessons. Try as she might, Mariangela can't get the accordion to sing for her. Even her accordion teacher, whose two missing fingers and handsome looks fascinate her, cannot find a way to inspire his pupil. But he can tell stories, and through his own sometimes harrowing experiences, Mariangela gradually comes to understand both her family's determination to start life in a new country and her own capacity to persevere.
Author Victoria Miles drew from her mother's own misadventures with the accordion to create a rich tapestry of Italian immigrant life in Vancouver during the thirties. Funny, sad, and ultimately inspiring, Magnifico is a coming of age story that will stay with the reader for a very long time.
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"Mariangela's narrating voice has character and momentum, making this an enjoyable and cheering read. With its large print, accessible vocabulary, and domestic story, it's a good choice for readers nine to 12."
— Books for Young People
"A good choice for units on the immigrant experience or simply a story of coming of age."
— School Library Journal Reviews
"Written by a local author who drew on her mother's stories of growing up Italian in Vancouver in the 1930s. Little Mariangela wants to play the piano but instead gets her grandfather's old accordion. It's too heavy to carry so she pulls it to her lessons in her old red wagon. A special accordion teacher's stories make both her heritage and the accordion something to be proud of."
— Burnaby Now
Victoria Miles is the author of Wild Science: Amazing Encounters Between Animals and the People Who Study Them, as well as numerous other books and short stories for children. Victoria lives in North Vancouver with her husband, photographer David Nunuk, daughters Emily and Daphne, and an unrequited longing to play the little red accordion that sleeps next to their sofa.
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Red Cedar Award Nominee 2008/2009
Bressani Literary Prize Winner 2008
Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award Shortlist 2008
Chocolate Lily nominee 2007-2008
Rocky Mountain Book Award finalist, 2008