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Banjo of Destiny Hardcover – March 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554980852
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554980857
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,327,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"… Fagan presents a sweet, quiet, and neatly packaged tale that emphasizes the importance of hard work and following your dreams in the face of adversity." —School Library Journal

"This bittersweet novel has just the right touch of wit and creativity to catch and keep the attention of young discerning readers." —Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

"…this sweet, quirky little book hits all the right notes. Highly recommended." — CM Magazine


"[A] sweet, quiet, and neatly packaged tale that emphasizes the importance of hard work and following your dreams in the face of adversity." — School Library Journal
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Cary Fagan is an award-winning children's author who is known for his timeless, quirky and deceptively simple stories that reveal complex and universal themes. He has also written several adult novels and has been an editor and contributor to several magazines and newspapers, including the Globe and Mail and the Montreal Gazette. His work has won the City of Toronto Book Award and the Jewish Book Committee Prize for Fiction, and he has been a finalist for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Selçuk Demirel was born in Artvin, Turkey, in 1954. He moved to Paris in 1978 and still lives there.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Written by 11 yr. old son:

In Banjo of Destiny by Cary Fagan, Jeremiah Birnbaum is a rich kid with everything he could ever want. He has a tennis court, swimming pool and private bowling alley. He has three walk-in closets... one just for toys. His house has an elevator! But, he thinks his life is "one expensive nightmare." His best friend, Luella, who does not come from a wealthy family, has the freedom that he doesn't have. While he has a list of things to do, she gets to decide what she wants to be and what she wants to do, even what she wears. While she gets to go directly home after school, he has to take etiquette, ballroom, dancing, golf, painting and piano lessons.
At school, once a year, everyone has to run a cross-country race. Jeremiah is one of the slowest runners and Luella is one of the fastest, but Luella stays with him because she is his friend. This year, Luella suggests a shortcut. As they're walking across a field, they hear music. They go closer for a look and find an African American man playing the bluegrass banjo on the front porch of an abandoned house. Jeremiah hears it and feels as if the music is alive. He had never heard anything like it before.
Inspired, when Jeremiah gets home, he asks his parents if he can buy a banjo. "I have got more than enough money in my own bank account. In fact, I've got enough to buy 100 banjos." But, his parents say no, "It's not sophisticated enough." His parents, who made their money by inventing automatic dental floss dispensers, wanted Jeremiah to grow up "well-bred," because they hadn't had the same opportunities.
Out of character for him, because he doesn't normally disobey his parents, he decides to build a banjo. "Your parents didn't forbid you to make a banjo, did they?" asks Luella.
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By gt on March 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Entertaining fast read, easy dialogue that requires little inference. Cute story for kids second to fourth grades. The background information is also nice.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on March 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Jeremiah Birnbaum's parents hailed from extremely modest backgrounds, with Mr. Birnbaum washing store windows for a living and Mrs. Birnbaum toiling away as a hotdog vendor. When the two of them met, fell in love, and came up with the idea of selling an automated dental-floss dispenser, they struck it rich. So rich, in fact, that they now lived in a castle that had everything one could imagine under its roof, including temperature-sensitive floors, a movie theater, an art gallery, a bowling alley, and an exercise room complete with an oval track.

Hence Jeremiah lacked nothing in the way of material comforts. He also attended an elite private school, and his afternoons and weekends were filled with all sorts of lessons, from piano to ballroom dance, that his parents thought necessary to help him become a successful young man. All these privileges, however, did not make Jeremiah happy. He may have wanted for nothing, but he needed something to stir his soul. Unbelievably, that something turned out to be playing a banjo, a discovery that surprised Jeremiah so much that he even overrode his parents' objections to this unsophisticated instrument by trying to make his own.

This bittersweet novel has just the right touch of wit and creativity to catch and keep the attention of young discerning readers. Thoroughly entwined into the novel is an unusual twist on the economics concept of wants versus needs that will encourage readers to think about what brings true happiness.
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