Playing from the Heart

  1. Title: Playing from the Heart
  2. Author(s): Peter H. Reynolds
  3. Illustrator/Photographer: Peter H. Reynolds
  4. Number of Pages: 32
  5. Publisher and Year: Candlewick Press, 2016
  6. Genre: Realistic Fiction
  7. Analysis: Playing from the Heart is the story of a boy named Raj and his love for the piano. After noticing Raj’s talent, his father signs him up for lessons; but the older Raj got and the more his talent developed, the less he enjoyed playing, until he stopped playing the piano altogether. When Raj’s father becomes ill, Raj goes home to see him; asking Raj to play for him, Raj starts to play a song that he remembers, but instead, his father asks him to play from the heart.

While Playing from the Heart was not a mirror for me, I know people who have been in a similar position as Raj. Some parents unintentionally force things on their children which can lead to resentment, so for those people, this book could be a mirror. For those who view this book as window, the author is able to make Raj’s story relatable. Through this relatability, the reader can empathize with Raj, even if he or she has never experienced the situation that Raj went through.

What I loved most about Playing from the Heart were the illustrations. Self-illustrated, Peter H. Reynolds uses a blend of pen, ink, watercolor, gouache, and tea to beautifully illustrate the story. Most of the story has a neutral-colored tone, except for the frames with Raj, which contain slightly warmer and complementary colors like brown and yellow. When Raj played sheet music, everything was gray. When he left the house, everything became a sort of blue, giving the reader a better portrayal of Raj’s father’s loneliness and the warmth he felt when Raj was around.  However, the music notes that came from Raj’s heart were different colors of the rainbow. I took this as the illustrator showing that in such a bland world, there was beauty or life in Raj’s music. Overall, I feel that the illustrations in Playing from the Heart added to the mood of the story.

Finally, in the back of the book, the author explains how when writing this story, he wanted to “celebrate the natural energy and fearlessness that children are born with,” but also to encourage people not to forget that original joy, even after learning rules and techniques. Moreover, he claims that creativity thrives on bravery and originality. I like that Reynolds incorporated this theme throughout the book because I feel that it is important for children to follow their hearts and pursue their dreams, rather than the dreams others have for them.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.