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August 10, 2016


Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

I Heart Band!

Today we’re thrilled to share an exclusive blog post from the author of I Heart Band!, Michelle Schusterman. We hope you enjoy this peek into her lifelong associations with school bands and band geeks!

Author Michelle Schusterman in her school's marching band.

On my first day teaching middle school band, I listened to the head band director tell our beginner woodwinds class a story about the perils of not cleaning their instruments.

“I once had a student who never cleaned his clarinet,” she said. “And one day, he couldn’t get it to make a sound. When we took it apart and looked inside, do you know what we found?” She paused here for dramatic effect. “Mold.


Like any good gross-out story, it was exaggerated with each retelling. “I heard there were ants living in his clarinet.” “They crawled in his mouth while he was playing…and he ate them!”

The editor of I HEART BAND! Jordan Hamessley also played in her school band!

The very first time I had a phone call with my editor, I told her that story. “I’m so going to have a character in this book who finds ants in her instrument,” I said, and she agreed. In fact, our own band experiences inspired a lot of Holly’s adventures with her friends in I Heart Band!

I started band in third grade. After two highly unsuccessful weeks on the clarinet (no ants were involved, thank you very much), I switched to percussion and ended up majoring in music in college. My editor was just like Holly in middle school: a great French horn player, very competitive, and a total perfectionist.

Writing the I Heart Band! series was incredibly fun because we spent so much time reliving our own band memories: nerve-racking auditions, bake sale fund-raisers, concerts and competitions. Holly and her friends even get stuck in the middle of nowhere when their bus breaks down on the band trip to New Orleans, which is exactly what happened my senior year of high school on a band trip to Colorado. And just like Holly, I ended up having a great time camping out in an elementary school gym with my friends!

Being in band is just as much about friendships as it is about music; spending time with the friends you love, doing what you love. That’s the real heart of Holly’s story, and it’s something I hope any reader—band geek or not—can relate to.


I Heart Band! is available in Reading Club flyers and online now! 

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February 13, 2015