Keep Your Songs In Your Heart: A Novel of Friendship and Hope During World War II

Book Cover


1940s & '50s

Carolyn Summer Quinn

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KEEP YOUR SONGS IN YOUR HEART is the story of boisterous, 11-year-old Ruby Rafferty, an aspiring singer whose happy life in Seattle is turned upside-down after America enters World War II.


Children's, Drama, Family, Historical Fiction, Political, Young Adult, War,,Historical Fiction

Short Summary

Overnight Ruby goes from rehearsing for the school talent show, welcoming refugee classmaste Vera, and listening to "Hit Parade" on the radio to watching in horror as her father enlists and best friend Emiko is sent to an internment camp.

Just when it gets darkest, Ruby's father, who was missing in action, is found, Emiko and family are released from the camp, and Vera's relatives in Europe, also missing, are located. What a difference a day makes!


Seattle, Washington

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Internal Journey/Rebirth

Plot - Other Elements

Happy Ending, Philosophical Questions, Coming of Age,,Meaningful Message

Mature Audience Themes

Information not completed

Main Character Details

Name: Ruby Rafferty

Age: 11

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Patriotic, Adventurous, Charming, Confident, Engaging, Funny, Aspiring, Faithful, Outspoken

Additional Character Details

Name: Emiko Fujiwara - "Emi"

Age: 11

Gender: Female

Role: Sidekick

Key Traits: Honorable, Engaging, Adventurous, Aspiring, Funny,Flexible,Charming

Additional Character Details

Name: Vera

Age: 11

Gender: Female

Role: sidekick

Key Traits: Engaging, Insecure,Complex

Additional Character Details

Name: Parents, Teachers, the School Principal, Friends and Foes

Age: Adults

Gender: Female

Role: sidekick

Key Traits: Decisive, Outspoken, Patriotic,Villainous,Charming,Blunt,Gracious,Unapologetic,Confident

Development Pitch

This is the story of a girl with enough courage NOT to follow the crowd. Boisterous 11-year-old aspiring singer Ruby Carol Rafferty's happy life in Seattle is turned upside-down after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Suddenly America is at war, Ruby's longed-for Christmas trip is cancelled, her father is joining the Army, and her Japanese American best friend is getting shipped away to an internment camp just because of her heritage. A new friend's family fled from the Nazis in Europe and can't find out what happened to the relatives they left behind. Ruby watches in horror as her Japanese classmates are discriminated against and sent away, but she refuses to participate in bullying them. Instead, the gutsy girl continues to stand up for her friends. She can't put a stop to everything that's happening, but can she and her friends keep a song in their hearts until the world comes back to its senses?

About The Author

CAROLYN QUINN grew up in Roselle and Scotch Plains, NJ, a member of an outrageous and rollicking extended family. She became interested in theatrical history at the age of twelve after participating in a theater arts workshop and later obtained a B.A. in English and Theater/Media from Kean University. She particularly loves the songs, styles and culture of the 1920s. She recently wrote KEEP YOUR SONGS IN YOUR HEART, a story for middle-grade students whose lives are impacted by the start of World War II and featuring a girl who has enough courage NOT to follow the crowd. Carolyn also wrote "MAMA ROSE'S TURN: The True Story of America's Most Notorious Stage Mother" after extensively researching the life of Rose Thompson Hovick, whose colorful and unorthodox parenting style inspired the musical Gypsy. She is Co-Editor of The Ziegfeld Times for The Ziegfeld Society. She lives in New York City and can be contacted through her website, or

Target Audiences

Age: 13-17,7-12

Target Gender: Female Leaning

Group Specific

There's American, Japanese-American and European Jewish characters. The Japanese are subjected to unlawful imprisonment in internment camps and the Jewish family was discriminated against in Europe.

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Year Published: 2019

Hard Copy Available