Spring 2024

The Color of Sound

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 8
  • Reading Level: Grade 6

Twelve-year-old Rosie is a musical prodigy whose synesthesia allows her to see music in colors.

Her mom has always pushed her to become a concert violinist, but this summer Rosie refuses to play, wanting a “normal” life. Forced to spend the summer with her grandparents, Rosie is excited to meet another girl her age hanging out on their property. The girl is familiar, and Rosie quickly pieces it together: somehow, this girl is her mother, when her mother was twelve.

With help from this glitch in time—plus her grandparents, an improv group, and a new instrument—Rosie comes to understand her mother, herself, and her love of music in new ways.

Format Your Price Add
Available at all major wholesalers and distributors. Save 25% off list price on hardcovers and ebooks when you buy direct! Digital purchases will be accessed on Lerner Digital Bookshelf. An account will be created for you after purchase.
Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 8
Reading Level Grade 6
Category SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: B Self-Management, SEL: D Relationship Skills, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2024
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Books ®
Language English
Number of Pages 336
Publication Date 2024-03-05
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV039020, JUV013030, JUV031040
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.25 x 7.5
Guided Reading Level Y
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Reviewed, Starred Reviews, Teaching Guides, and eSource

Author: Emily Barth Isler

Emily Barth Isler is an author of essays and children's books, including the middle grade novel AfterMath and the forthcoming picture book Always Enough Love. Emily writes regularly about sustainability, organic/eco-friendly skincare, and healthy beauty products for magazines and blogs. Her next book, The Color of Sound, features a character who, like Emily, has synesthesia. She has a BA in Film Studies from Wesleyan University and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two children.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

The Color of Sound

Twelve-year-old Rosie is a musical prodigy whose synesthesia allows her to see music in colors. Her mom has always pushed her to become a concert violinist, but this summer Rosie refuses to play, wanting a “normal” life. Forced to spend the summer… View available downloads →

The Color of Sound: An Interview with Author Emily Barth Isler

In The Color of Sound violin prodigy Rosie desperately wants the chance to experience a “normal” life and refuses to play her instrument for a summer. Upset, her mother sends her to her grandparents’ house where she meets another girl her age hanging out on the property. The girl is… View →

Happy Book Birthday: March New Releases in Picture Books, Graphic Novels, Nonfiction, and more!

Spring is a time of new beginnings, new adventures, and new books! Peruse our March titles and find the perfect story for readers of every age. New in Picture Books The Rock in My Throat by Kao Kalia Yang, Illustrated by Jiemei Lin Interest Level: Grade K – 4 In this moving true story,… View →


The Horn Book Magazine

“An emotionally moving story about the ways that generational trauma can affect parent-child relationships and how the past persists into the present.”—Horn Book Magazine

Teen Librarian's Toolbox

“A really nice look at how independence is often hard-fought and can come through unexpected paths. A solid upper middle grade read.”—Teen Librarian’s Toolbox

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

“This is great for exploring the complex world of neurodivergence, specifically as it relates to synesthesia, a real life fascinating condition that allows people to experience unrelated sensory experiences at the same time. Reviewer Rating: 5”—Children’s Literature


“A moving and pensive read. . .”—Booklist

School Library Journal

“Isler crafts an exceptionally honest portrayal of complicated mother-daughter dynamics, and a protagonist whose independence and kindness is a stunning solo. . . a perfect book club pick and a reminder to all that patience and understanding can change lives.”—starred, School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

“Intricately entwining interpersonal growth with each character’s relationship to their Jewish faith and culture, Isler highlights the role of family history in identity formation through metaphorical time travel. Color-centric imagery rendered in immersive prose translates Rosie’s synesthesia in this salient celebration of family, music, and neurodiversity.”—starred, Publishers Weekly

John Cho

The Color of Sound is a valentine to families everywhere. Isler explores multiple intergenerational relationships lovingly and honestly, while keeping a gifted and vulnerable girl firmly at the center. It’s hard to imagine a book that I would want both my parents and my children to read, and yet, here is one.” —John Cho, New York Times bestselling author of Troublemaker

Gail Lerner

“This beautiful, intergenerational coming-of-age story about families, secrets, and self-discovery will stay with you long after you finish reading it.”—Gail Lerner, author of The Big Dreams of Small Creatures

Jimmy Matejek-Morris

“A deeply resonant story of finding your own song through the noise of everyone else’s expectations.”—Jimmy Matejek-Morris, author of My Ex-Imaginary Friend and Forsooth

Joanne Levy

The Color of Sound is the perfect summer read, sure to become a perennial favorite.”—Joanne Levy, award-winning author of Sorry for Your Loss

Barbara Dee

“Well-crafted, heartfelt, and affecting.”—Barbara Dee, author of Maybe He Just Likes You and Unstuck

Elly Swartz

“This tale of connection, family, and generational secrets will tug on your heart as you root for Rosie to find her song and herself.”—Elly Swartz, author of Dear Student

Sally J. Pla

This bright, brilliant symphony of a story will play on in your head long after you’ve turned the last page.”—Sally J. Pla, author of The Someday Birds