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The Piano

The friendly piano is thrilled when a young musician named Katie first presses its keys. As Katie and the piano become daily companions, her musical skills grow and grow. Together they play beautiful music to match her every mood. But when Katie moves away for college, the piano is left behind, untouched and silent. What happens next helps the piano—and young readers—see learning as a never-ending cycle and music as a life-long source of joy.

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Available  wherever books are sold


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The Piano book cover with text.jpg

“This is a touching story of a child's growing love of music, specifically piano, from the piano's point of view. The illustrations combine a nostalgic, old-fashioned style with lovely abstract and semi-abstract features to show music and its influence. Children who care about, or are potentially intrigued by, music or piano will enjoy it for those elements, while others will identify with the sympathetic piano and follow its story, hoping for and happy to reach the piano's happy reunion and continued mission.”

Karen A. Wyle, Author, Goodreads

"A Sweet melodic story celebrating growth, dedication and love." 
Thinker Toys, Portland, Oregon.

"A captivating story for young readers from start to finish. Enjoy the journey of The Piano." 
Ben Medler, Director/Co-Founder, Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra

“This lyrical story will make your heart sing!”
Suzanne Barchers, EdD, Musician, Author, and former Editor in Chief of LeapFrog, Chair of Advisory Board of Lingokids


"The Piano, by Chari Smith, is a lovely story about finding a sense of home in the company of a piano. Told from the perspective of the piano, the book addresses the concepts of maintain a lifelong relationship with the thing we love - and passing this passion on to future generations. The Illustrations by Elle Smith breathe a vibrant life into the story. This story can be used to help young people find their passion and stimulate conversations about where they find 'home'. I highly recommend it for parents, teachers and counselors." 
Lynea Gillen, Award-winning author of Good People Everywhere.


Here’s what 9-year-old Zola has to say about The Piano

The Story Behind the Story

In March 2020, as COVID-19 ripped across the globe, in Portland, Oregon, schools, businesses, and nearly everything shut down. It felt surreal. In the uncertainty, Chari immersed herself in creative projects. For years, Chari and Elle discussed having Elle illustrate Chari’s story, The Piano. The original story was written well before Elle was even born!


Chari flattened boxes across the dining room table to create a makeshift storyboard space. They cut up the story lines, placed them across the 32 squares, and pondered how to use this quiet, unsettling time to create.


Chari reached out to a friend, who is a children’s book writer, for input on the illustration descriptions. “Are you open to feedback on the story?” she asked. Well, that was unexpected, but sure. With her input, Chari revised the story. Then, again, she reached out to another friend, Andrew Durkin with Yellow Bike Press, to edit the story. Once more, Chari did a deep revision, keeping the elements the same but changing the story. Again.

Then, the “Aha!” moment arrived. Why not write the story from the perspective of the piano?


Chari revised it one last time, and it felt right. Elle began illustrating, and we settled on the bright red piano that’s in the book today. As Elle worked on the illustrations, Chari reached out to publishers and was thrilled to receive an offer from Black Rose Writing. The Piano will be released on February 3, 2022. Follow Chari on Facebook and Instagram and to stay up to date on events and special offers.

Photo Credit: Andie Petkus Photography
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