Written by Janice Shefelman
Illustrated by Tom Shefelman
Ages 7-11

In this picture book inspired by the life of Antonio Vivaldi, the composer himself narrates how a creative, determined boy grew up to create masterpieces like “The Four Seasons.”
Despite his mother’s vow for him to become a priest, young Vivaldi is only interested in music. He soon grows from a feisty, violin-obsessed boy into a stubborn young man who puts his musical training ahead of his studies for priesthood. Beautiful, ornate artwork portrays the spirit and splendor of Vivaldi’s hometown of Venice. A historical note, musical score, and glossary will help readers more fully appreciate the composer’s Baroque context and his enduring genius.

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“So, we shall begin your lessons!” Papa took up his violin. “First we tune.” He pulled his bow across a string. “That is the note we call ‘A.’ Now you try it.” 
I raised my bow.
“You must draw the bow lightly across the strings, Antonio, as if your hand were held by invisible wings.”
I drew my bow across the A string. Papa turned the A peg until we sounded alike. When my violin was tuned we played together — two strokes on each string. It was like breathing in and out, only easier.
“You learn quickly, my son.”
From then on Papa gave me lessons twice a week, and I practiced every day.

One morning as Papa was leaving for rehearsal, he said, “Antonio, get your violin and come with me.”
“Giovanni, no!” Mama said.
“My dear, Antonio is seven years old. He needs to see what I do.”
“He can see without his violin.”
Papa took her hand and kissed it. “Please, Camilla, allow me a little fatherly pride.” 
I picked up my violin and followed him out the door.

We boarded a gondola for the Piazza San Marco. Everywhere there was music. People played instruments and sang at their windows, on the bridges, and on boats. My heart sang too.

About the author and illustrator

Janice and Tom Shefelman collaborated on several children’s books before Tom’s death in 2017, including A Paradise Called Texas and Sophie’s War (both Eakin Press). Their titles have received many honors, including New York Library Best Book for the Teen Age, CBC Notable Book, and IRA Children’s Choice awards. The husband-wife team lived and worked in Texas, where Janice still resides. Visit their website at shefelmanbooks.com.