Elena’s Serenade is a sweet story about a little girl who wants to be a glassblower. We found this book on A Mighty Girl and then got a copy from our local library. Author Campbell Geeslin uses magical realism to bring to life a story that shows that girls can do anything they want, even if no girl has done it before.
Elena is a little girl who dreams of being a glassblower like her father. When her father tells her that not only is she too young to work with the hot glass but that girls don’t blow glass, she is devastated. However, she doesn’t sit still for long. Instead, she sets out to prove him wrong, and since the great glassblowers are in Monterrey, that’s where she plans to go. The only twist is that she knows other men will see her the same way, so she disguises herself as a boy.
As she starts out on her long journey, she stops to rest and is playing around with her glass blowing pipe when she realizes that she can make music with her pipe. She is playing a song when a burro trots up to her and tells her how her song has lifted his spirits. He is so grateful to her that he offers to take her to Monterrey. Along their journey, Elena meets up with a variety of animals, each suffering from some sort of malady and each time a song from her pipe heals them.
When Elena finally makes it to the glass blowing factory in Monterrey, the men laugh at the “little muchaco” since she is so small, but tell her to go ahead and try to blow glass. She plays a song while she blows and magically creates a glass star. Everyone in the village wants one of her beautiful stars and she becomes a great success.
She still misses her father and creates a giant glass bird to fly her home. She walks into her father’s studio, still dressed as a boy, and blows a beautiful glass butterfly. When her father says “If only my daughter were here to see this,” she rips off her disguise and jumps into her fathers arms. He is amazed and impressed by his daughter’s talent. From then on, every day, father and daughter work side by side blowing glass.
The story is a magical way of showing that little girls can do anything that they want to. J didn’t love this one, but I thought that it was sweet. I think that J couldn’t relate to the story, but perhaps your young dreamer will love it.