Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Before There Was Mozart

Before There Was Mozart

Spring 2012 Non-Fiction
Ages: 5 - 9 yrs.
Author: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrator: James Ransome
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 978-0-375-83600-8
Hardcover Price: $18.99

Before There Was Mozart by Lesa Cline-Ransome sheds light on a lesser-known musical talent, Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George. Joseph was a violinist and composer who performed for Marie Antoinette at Versailles, eventually becoming her music teacher as well. But his life began less auspiciously, in slavery. He was born in the Caribbean to a slave mother and a plantation owner, and at age nine he and his parents relocated to Paris and out of slavery. Despite being free, Joseph did not have it easy, as he faced prejudice wherever he went. His story of struggle and triumph is inspirational, and it deserves to be told alongside those of other classical musicians. James E. Ransome's beautifully painted illustrations do justice to the story.

Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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