The Black Canary

The Black Canary

For Ages: 10 - 14
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Twelve-year-old biracial James has grown up in a musical family. Not only are both of his parents musicians, but his four grandparents are as well. Everyone assumes that James will pursue music, yet he would rather become a newspaper reporter...or an astronomer...or a cook...anything that will let him leave music behind and be his own self.
Everything changes when, on a family visit to London, James discovers a portal that leads to London in the year 1600, then finds himself unable to return to the point in time he had left behind. James is forced to join the Children of the Chapel Royal, a group that performs for the queen of England, and the musical talents he denied are now put to the test and pushed to their limits. In this alternate world James comes to realize that he cannot survive and get back to the twenty-first century without recognizing, understanding, and making the most of his musical gifts.
Jane Louise Curry brings Elizabethan London to life in this remarkable story about music, family, and finding one's place in the world.
Choose a format:
  • Margaret K. McElderry Books | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780689864780 | 
  • March 2005 | 
  • Grades 5 - 9
List Price $18.99
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

At first, James thought he was awake. He opened his eyes into inky darkness and lay quite still, scarcely breathing, his heart fluttering as if something had frightened him. Even as fuzzy as his thinking was, that seemed silly. Alarmed him, then. Had he heard something? A sound? Water? If it were his granddad making his usual middle-of-the-night visit to the bathroom, he would have recognized the familiar faint knocking and gurgling from the pipes in his grandparents' side of the old house. A "duplex," the house was called back when most of the houses in their Pittsburgh neighborhood were built like that: two houses stuck... see more

About the Author

Jane Louise Curry
Photo Credit:

Jane Louise Curry

Jane Louise Curry has written more than thirty books for children, her most recent novel being The Egyptian Box. Ms. Curry lives in Lose Angeles, California, and spends a part of each year in London, England. For more information go to and




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