For the Love of Music (Picture Book)

FortheLoveofMusic-239x300This book review first appeared on my other blog, By Word of Beth, but I think it’s a good one to repeat here.

Title: For the Love of Music: the remarkable story of Maria Anna Mozart

Author: Elizabeth Rusch

Illustrator: Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher

Publisher: New York: Tricycle Press/Random House, 2011

Genre: Picture book, historical/biographical fiction

Audience Age: 5 and up

Theme: music, biography of Mozart’s sister, love between brother and sister, love of music, history of music

Opening Sentences: When Maria Anna Mozart was a child, her life thrummed with music. Court musicians trumpeted French horns, choruses tra-la-la’ed, and countless fingers skittered up and down scales. “Oh father,” Maria pleaded, “please teach me to play!” And so he did.

Synopsis: Through illustrations that combine painting, fabric and lines of music, and text that appears to be on heavy cream-colored paper on the facing page, the life story of Mozart’s older sister, Maria Anna, is told. Each page of text is headed by a musical term that fits with the portion of the story that is being told. Maria Anna played the piano beautifully, she was said to be the most promising pianist in Europe – then one day her little brother, Wolfgang reached up and touched the keys. The children were soon playing duets, and were toured about as prodigies. They loved to play together. As they got older, Maria Anna had to stay home, while her brother became more and more famous. For love of music, she kept the music within her alive throughout her life.

Activities/Resources: The author provides a Curriculum Guide, and music/art projects on her website:

Availability: Readily available in hardcover.

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  1. I’ve always wanted to learn more about Maria Anna…I felt sorry for her that she not only was in the shadow of her prodigy brother (and I adore Wolfgang, so I’m not begrudging him) but she was also repressed by patriarchal societal pressures. This book is going on my to-read list. 🙂

    1. Oh, thank you for telling me about that book, Erik! I’ll check the public library for it right away!

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