Saturday, March 19, 2016

Book Nook: Ghost in the Key of A and No Family Tree for Me

Whether kids are involved in band, orchestra or choir, one thing remains a given – music benefits child development, improves social skills and instills confidence.  Just ask T. Katz, "Afternoon T,” as she's known to her radio audiences.  Katz authored a children's chapter book, Ghost in the Key of A: Pythagoras, drawing from her years in the entertainment industry, and creating a delightful tale using music as the medium.   

Ghost in the Key of A: Pythagoras follows Pricilla, a budding young pianist whose piano is plagued by a quirky ghost after she discovers a sticky "A” key. The ghost teaches her some of the most fascinating things about music history.  She soon finds synergies in these lessons and her own life.  Readers will find Ghost in the Key of A: Pythagoras engaging and inspirational.    

Discovering your family tree has traditionally been an exciting and enlightening school activity where children learn about their ancestors and share pinnacle stories of their roots.  But what happens when, due to adoption, you don't know your roots?  T. Katz, author of No Family Tree For Me, was adopted and knows from personal experience how the vision of a family tree for children in non-traditional and blended families could be somewhat underwhelming when put on paper.  

In No Family Tree for Me, Katz portrays the story of Tessie Tremaine. Like Katz's own daughter, Tessie walked on eggshells when asked about her family tree. Both of her parents were adopted. And when she was given an assignment by her English teacher to create her family tree, she couldn't think of anything worse – imaging a family "twig” rather than a tree.  

Ultimately, Tessie (and Katz's daughter) learn that family is what you make of it – not who you share your DNA with.   

"This book has personal meaning to me, and it was something I knew I needed to write.  As a child who was adopted not once, but twice, I've been fortunate to become an honorary member of some incredibly loving families,” says Katz. "They instilled in me what is truly important in life … to love and be loved.”

I had a chance to review both books, and my daughter and I enjoyed them. As a math and music teacher, Ghost in the Key of A: Pythagoras amused me with its allusions to the great Greek mathematician/musician. No Family Tree was great for kids who are adopted or who know someone who is, to reinforce the fact that family doesn't just mean blood relatives.

Meet T. Katz.  She's a popular radio host in Santa Clarita, CA, known as "Afternoon T.” She's versed on a wide array of topics and loves hearing stories as much as telling them. Her interests range from discussing medical issues to music to adoption. She was adopted twice and her ex-husband found out late in life that he, too, was adopted. Subsequently, the topic of blended families is one that she is passionate about. T. Katz is also a successful public speaker. 

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