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The Greatest Song of All

How Isaac Stern United the World

to Save Carnegie Hall



Quill Tree Books

(Harper Collins)

(pub.7.5.2022) 40 pages

Author: Megan Hoyt

Illustrator: Katie Hickey

Character: Isaac Stern


"When Carnegie Hall first opened its doors in 1891, no one could have predicted its incredible success. With talented artists like Duke Ellington and Albert Einstein gracing its stage, the hall quickly became a place where all people—no matter their skin color, religion, or social status—could come together under one roof to be entertained.

People like Isaac Stern. The son of Jewish immigrants who fled war-torn Ukraine for America to escape the Holocaust, Isaac was a talented violinist whose dream of one day performing on Carnegie Hall's legendary stage came true, many times over. So when a real estate tycoon sets out to demolish Carnegie Hall, Isaac knew something had to be done to preserve decades of hopes, dreams, and inclusivity."

Tantalizing taste:

" But the next day, the people of New York City went back to their daily routines. Cars and buses cruised past the hall, pouring exhaust and dirt onto the sidewalk out front.

Isaac looked around. Didn't they know this was where the famous Tchaikovsky made his American debut? Where Albert Einstein mesmerized the crowd with his talk of tiny atoms in a vast universe? Where the lilting tones of Marian Anderson melted people's hearts?

Just like Isaac, young musicians from all over the world dreamed of one day performing at the prestigious Carnegie Hall.

It has to be saved, Isaac thought."

And something more: I'm always interested in other authors' journeys in finding primary sources for picture book biographies. Megan Hoyt in the Author's Note explains: "As I started to do research on Carnegie Hall, I went to the source: the hall itself! There are hundreds of letters, photos, and contracts tucked away in the Carnegie Hall archives, including an autographed photo of Tchaikovsky - composer of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake - and the trowel Louise Carnegie used back in 1890 to lay the first cornerstone of the building.…

Isaac Stern also left dozens of boxes of relevant background information to the US government. They are stored in the National Archives and have not yet been opened. Maybe one day we will even find out even more about Carnegie Hall, about Isaac Stern, and about the activism that saved this beautiful building from destruction." Yes! Another book for Megan to write.


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