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Children's Fiction Friendship

The Power of Harmony

A Novel

by (author) Jan L. Coates

Red Deer Press
Initial publish date
May 2013
Friendship, Bullying, Prejudice & Racism
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2013
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2013
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 13
  • Grade: 4 to 8


Jennifer's dream is to become a famous singer—except she's terrified of singing in public. Since her best friend moved away, Jenn has become the target of the bullies at school. But when a Native girl, Melody, joins the class, the bullies have a new victim. Jenn's heard what people, including her own grandmother, say about "those people." But, as she gets to know her new classmate, she discovers that, like her, Melody enjoys books and reading. She also finds that both of them love music.
Set in Springhill, Nova Scotia during the late 1960s, this story of peer cruelty, faith, mortality, racism, and friendship perfectly captures time and place as its young narrator, Jennifer, struggles to find her voice and ultimately discovers the power of harmony.

Reviews:The Power of Harmony is worth a read for someone who is looking for realistic fiction, an historical setting, or character development centered around issues like bullying and racism. . . Ideal for classroom use or book clubs, is a book most likely appreciated by avid readers more so than the average Grade 5 reader.
CM Magazine

About the author

Jan L. Coates is the author of numerous books for young readers, including A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk, a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award and the Ann Connor Brimer Award, as well as a USBBY Outstanding International Book. Her middle grade novels have been finalists for the Ann Connor Brimer Award, the Violet Downey Award, and the Hackmatack Children's Choice Award. Sky Pig received the 2017 Lillian Shepherd Award for Illustration and was shortlisted for a Willow Award. She lives, writes, and teaches in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

Jan L. Coates' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Simply stated, The Power Of Harmony is deftly written and thoroughly entertaining from first page to last."
The Midwest Book Rreview

"A powerful story about unjustified prejudice and disliking someone just because they are different."
Kids BookShelf

"The harmony of Melody and Jenny is a powerful force, helping the two girls face extraordinary life challenges of death, shame, prejudice, grief, fear, and abuse. Together they support each other as no one else could, providing the strength needed to overcome those challenges. For two young girls, they endure much trauma, both within their families and more publicly. But Jan L. Coates does not depict Melody and Jenny as anything but ordinary children, albeit more aware of how people treat each other. They are emotive without being emotional; kind without gushiness; and clever without being smart-alecky. It's Jan L. Coates evocative text and careful plotting that elevate the girls to extraordinary while the history of Springhill, Nova Scotia, including the coal mining, the residential school and the prison, ground the story in reality. The Power of Harmony could have been a cacophony of anger, abuse and prejudice but, with Jan L. Coates' considerate story-telling, it is a sensitive coming of age story in a socially-evolving Canadian setting.
CanLit for LittleCanadians

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