Magnifico is a heartwarming tale of Mariangela, the 11-year-old daughter of Italian immigrants living in Canada in 1939. Mariangela wants to learn piano (she envies her cousin’s piano) but her family can not afford one. Instead, Nonna surprises her with an accordion. Mariangela, disappointed, doesn’t try very hard at first. Her accordion teacher, Gioseff, tries everything he can to inspire her: playing records, telling stories, protecting her from the neighborhood bully, but nothing seems to work. Throughout the story we see how her family and friends persevere in difficult situations, and through these situations, Mariangela figures out what she must do to succeed.
This book is an excellent story of immigrant life, perseverance, and how music can bring people together. It is recommended for children in grades 3-6, but I would recommend it for accordion lovers of all ages.