Banjo of Destiny

by Cary Fagan

Illustrated by Selçuk Demirel

Imprint: Groundwood Books

Format: Hardcover | black & white illus. | Ages: 9 and up | 128 pages |
ISBN: 9781554980857 | $16.95 CDN

Format: Paperback | black & white illus. | Ages: 9 and up | 128 pages |
ISBN: 9781554980864 | $9.95 CDN

Jeremiah Birnbaum is stinking rich. He lives in a house with nine bathrooms, a games room, an exercise room, an indoor pool, a hot tub, a movie theater, a bowling alley and a tennis court. His parents, a former hotdog vendor and window cleaner who made it big in dental floss, make sure Jeremiah goes to the very best private school, and that he takes lessons in all the things he will need to know how to do as an accomplished and impressive young man. Etiquette lessons, ballroom dancing, watercolor painting. And, of course, classical piano.

Jeremiah complies, because he wants to please his parents. But one day, by chance, he hears the captivating strains of a different kind of music — the strums, plucks and rhythms of a banjo. It's music that stirs something in Jeremiah's dutiful little soul, and he is suddenly obsessed. And when his parents forbid him to play one, he decides to learn anyway — even if he has to make the instrument himself.

"...a low-key charmer." — Kirkus Reviews

"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." — Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

"...[a] heartfelt novel..." — Quill & Quire

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

"There's a real light-hearted sparkle to Torontonian Cary Fagan's Banjo of Destiny ... This has the spirit and cheer of comic melodrama, its fun coming as much from Fagan's breezy asides as from the plot. Who could resist Luella, who toboggans down the school hill singing the school anthem in Pig Latin? ... These kinds of details, as well as Fagan's evocative descriptions of banjo music ('weirdly old and jumpily alive') give this story its loft." — Toronto Star