What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

Circle of Giving
This topic is about Circle of Giving
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SOLVED: Children's/YA > SOLVED. Children's book, two sisters, mentally-disabled girl. [s]

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message 1: by Rosa (last edited May 09, 2019 05:14PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments I read this book in 2008 or 2009, but I think it was from the fifties. I think it was set earlier, in the 20's or 30's.
One girl (I think the younger) narrates the story of how her older sister (who might be named Margo) decides to help the developmentally disabled daughter of the local piano teacher, a lovely, careworn widow. The daughter may be named Frankie. Margo desperately wants piano lessons, but the family doesn't have a piano. The family is new to the town (somewhere in the U.S., but I don't know which region) and the narrating sister quickly fits in with the other local girls (they play make-believe games, like "Bathing Beauties" in the town pool). But the local girls are scared of Frankie, and think Margo is strange to spend so much time with her. Margo's sister feels a little guilty about not sticking up more for them, but she enjoys having friends too much to risk them thinking she's weird.
At the end of the book, the sisters' family has a Christmas party, and the narrator's father tells her she looks like a holly berry in her red dress, with her dark brown hair. For once the narrator isn't envious of Margo's "wavy gold" hair. (I remember this exactly.) Margo has a big surprise for everyone at the party: she's been teaching Frankie to read! Frankie's made a card for her mother that says "FRANKIE LOVES MAMA," and Frankie's mother is so happy that she promises to give Margo piano lessons for free, and she can use the teacher's piano for as long as she likes.
I'm not sure of the names.


Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments At one point, "Margo" and her sister have grown apart. But they still share a bed. After a disagreement, Margo's sister asks her to spoon with her, and she does. Then they can go to sleep.


Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Bump.


Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Bump.


message 5: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 20144 comments I did a bunch of searches, but came up with nada. Tried "piano," "piano teacher" "sisters" or anything involving "mental retardation" or "mental disabilities" and zilch.


Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Thanks for looking, Rainbowheart. I really appreciate it.


Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments The book could have been published in the 80’s, actually. It felt more socially-conscious than the 50’s. But I’m sure it was set in the 50’s or before.


message 8: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 20144 comments I even tried looking for publish dates up to 2012, just in case, but no joy. Lots of books about developmentally delayed siblings, not so many about neighbors/friends.


Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Yeah, that’s what I found when I searched, too.


message 10: by Rosa (last edited Aug 13, 2018 11:40AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments The novel felt similar in tone to Jacob Have I Loved—bittersweet, nostalgic, told by the overlooked sister—but not as much, as it was a kids’ book.


message 11: by Rosa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Bump.


message 12: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 20144 comments Can you remember any other incidents from the story, just in case it jogs someone's memory?

Was the setting a small town? Or a larger city?


message 13: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 20144 comments Sounds a tiny bit like the book being described here....

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 14: by Ayshe (last edited Aug 07, 2018 08:17AM) (new)

Ayshe | 4270 comments I can't find anything either. How did you find this book, Rosa? Was it British/Australian?

I keep looking at Madcap Jeanie because the Kirkus review mentions sister and piano and it starts and ends with Christmas party (one in England and one the next year in Minnesota), but it doesn't seem to fit:

Little Jeanie's life in Victorian England was cozy and happy in spite of the fact that she was reputed to be something of a wild one. When Jeanie's minister father moves the family to Minnesota, Jeanie is resolved that she will be an example of perfection, learn to play the piano as beautifully as her sister, and be in every sense a proper young lady.


message 15: by Rosa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Rainbowheart wrote: "Sounds a tiny bit like the book being described here....

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/..."


It has some similar-sounding elements, but it's not my book.


message 16: by Rosa (last edited Sep 13, 2018 10:11AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Ayshe wrote: "I can't find anything either. How did you find this book, Rosa? Was it British/Australian?

I keep looking at Madcap Jeanie because the Kirkus review mentions sister and piano and i..."


Thanks, Ayshe, but that's not the one. Mine was more serious, set in the 20th century, and for older children.
This book was on the shelf in my fifth-grade classroom in the US. It was definitely American...well, actually I'm questioning that now. I'm almost positive it was American.


message 17: by Rosa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Rainbowheart wrote: "Can you remember any other incidents from the story, just in case it jogs someone's memory?

Was the setting a small town? Or a larger city?"


It was a small town, and the family was new there.


message 19: by Rosa (last edited Sep 08, 2018 02:53PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Thank you so much for looking, Rainbowheart, but I’m afraid that’s not it. In the book I’m looking for, the girls’ father was alive, and it took place over a shorter period of time—maybe a year, maybe two, maybe a few months.


message 20: by Rosa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Bump.


message 21: by Rosa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Bump.


message 22: by Tab (new)

Tab (tabbrown) | 5052 comments Sounds like Circle of Giving Circle of Giving by Ellen Howard by Ellen Howard.

I found it using the "Search text contents" setting on Archive.org. I put the words ""like a holly berry" in the search box. Circle of Giving was the third choice.


message 23: by Rosa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Oh...my...goodness. You found it, Tab! Thank you so, so much! I’m so grateful!
An early Happy Holidays to you, and to Rainbowheart and Ayshe, too.
Love,
Rosa


message 24: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 20144 comments Yay, so glad this one was found!


message 25: by Tab (new)

Tab (tabbrown) | 5052 comments You're welcome :)

And, Happy Holidays to you, too!


message 26: by Rosa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 5221 comments Things I was right about:

1. Set in the 20's.
2. Published in the 80's.
3. Names were close: the pianist's daughter was named Francie, not Frankie, and the girl who helped her was named Marguerite, sometimes called "Marg."

What I got wrong:

1. Francie's mother was a former famous concert pianist, not a piano teacher.
2. She was a divorcee, not a widow.
3. Francie had cerebral palsy, not a mental disability. (This is probably what threw off the search the most.)
4. It took place in a Los Angeles neighborhood, not a small town.


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