Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music

  • Written by:Michael Genhart, PhD
  • Illustrated by: Priscilla Burris
  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Pages: 32, Color Size: 9″ x 10″
  • ISBN-10: TBD
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-4338-3074-7
  • Publisher: Magination Press (April 2020)
  • Language: English


When both grandpas, Abuelo and Opa, visit at the same time, they can’t understand each other’s language and there is a lot of silence. The grandson’s clever thinking helps find a way for everyone to share the day together as two cultures become one family.

This unique book includes a bonus fold-out and a note from the author sharing the true story of his own family.


“Genhart draws on his own family’s history for inspiration in his newest diversity-celebrating picture book.

Abuelo plays accordion in a mariachi band where he “hoots and hollers” louder than anyone. Opa plays accordion in a polka band where his yodels can “[make] the windows shake.” But when Abuelo and Opa get together at their grandchild’s home, the Mexican-German cultural divide seems a chasm too wide to span. Though both are perfectly polite, an uncomfortable silence begins to settle—until the empathetic protagonist encourages them both to get out their accordions. Through their shared love of music, harmony is soon restored and a bridge built between two cultures. This is a reassuring story, emphasizing that though we may be different we can find common ground, an especially important message for multiracial/multiethnic children who can often feel pulled between competing identities. Burris’ dot-eyed and brightly colored illustrations are darling, highlighting each culture well. The narrator has light-brown skin and dark hair; Abuelo’s side of the family has brown skin and Opa’s, white. As mixed-race families continue to grow, this title is sure to find a ready audience. Notes from both author and illustrator celebrate their own multiethnic backgrounds, which contributed to the story.

A warm musical celebration of multicultural families. (Picture book. 3-6)