Dancing Hands by Margartia Engle

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As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her up, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too—the Civil War.

Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House! Yet with the country torn apart by war, could Teresa’s music bring comfort to those who needed it most?

Targeted Vocabulary:

  • Stubborn - difficult to move or change
  • Homesick - to miss home
  • Lively - full of life and energy
  • Elegant - to look graceful and stylish
  • Soothe - to gently calm or to stop pain


Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember.

Involve me and I learn.

Benjamin Franklin