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Anna Maria's Gift (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)) Hardcover – April 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 470L (What's this?)
  • Series: A Stepping Stone Book(TM)
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375858814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375858819
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,627,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–5—A tender story about love and loss. Anna Maria, the nine-year-old daughter of a gifted violin maker, is sent to live and study at the Pietà, an orphanage in Venice, after her father dies. The violin prodigy flourishes under the tutelage of maestro Antonio Vivaldi but suffers a devastating blow when a jealous classmate throws her precious violin into a canal. What follows is a compelling lesson in selflessness and forgiveness. Shefelman's style is light, simple, and pleasing, and she has placed a cast of likable characters in a lovely setting. There is a brief glossary of musical and religious terms as well as a closing note about the actual Pietà and Vivaldi's stint as an instructor there, making this a good cross-curricular tool in addition to an engaging read.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Like Emily Arnold McCully's picture book The Orphan Singer (2001) and Pat Lowery Collins' young-adult novel HiddenVoices(2009), this illustrated chapter book is set in the eighteenth-century Venetian orphanage where Antonio Vivaldi instructed girls in music. Anna Maria's father, a renowned violin maker, expresses a dying wish for her to enter the Pietà Orphanage. There she finds a good friend in Sylvia and a fierce enemy in jealous Paolina. Worried when her beloved violin disappears, and enraged when she learns that Paolina threw it into the canal, Sylvia must rely on the power of music as well as self-control, courage, and forgiveness to make things right again. More memorable than the somewhat idealized ending are the strong emotions that lie at the heart of the story. While the final art was not seen, the sketches look promising, and the jacket is well designed to draw children intrigued by the historical setting or the musical theme. A glossary and a historical note are appended to this short, appealing historical novel from the Stepping Stone series. Grades 3-5. --Carolyn Phelan

More About the Author

Since my father was a German professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, I grew up in a neighborhood near the campus. He read to me from an early age which began a love affair with children's books and led to careers as teacher, librarian, and writer. Books opened the door to a big world and gave me the desire to see it. Thus I spent one summer bicycling around Europe and another traveling in North Africa and the Middle East.
When I married Tom, an architect and artist, we set out on a trip around the world for a year, traveling by freighter and living several weeks in a Buddhist temple. Along the way I wrote articles for newspapers and magazines which Tom illustrated, our first artistic collaboration.
But it was not until I tried writing children's books that my career began to blossom. Our first book, A Paradise Called Texas, was a Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee. The idea came from a story my father told me when I was a little girl. His grandfather left Germany in 1845 and brought his wife and young daughter, Mina, to the Texas frontier. Tom and our two sons collaborated to illustrate this book.
Many books later Tom and I are still married and living in Austin. In fact our marriage thrives on working together. We have recently published a picture book biography entitled I, Vivaldi, which received the Children's Choices Award given by the International Reading Association. Doing the research was a joy, since Vivaldi's music is our passion and Venice is our favorite city. We lived in the same square where Antonio Vivaldi's childhood home still stands. Tom played kickball with the neighborhood kids just as Antonio tried to do but could not because of his "chest constriction." Out of that book came Anna Maria's Gift, a chapter book about an orphan girl who studies violin with Vivaldi. As you can see, I love to write about the past and make it come to life for young readers.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Lamascus on July 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My 7 year old daughter really enjoyed this book. It's full of social interaction that a lot of young girls will be familiar with.

My daughter had trouble wit some of the words.

The book uses Italian words in some places. My daughter came to enjoy saying the Italian words.

I'd say the book is appropriate for any young person from 7 to 10.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Bruce Kelly on May 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A lovely book for young readers, filled with charming illustrations and a delightfully touching story. The details about early 18th-century Venice, the orphan girls of the Pieta, and their endearing violin teacher, Don Vivaldi, make for entertaining as well as educational reading. Highly recommended.

Sarah Bruce Kelly
Author of THE RED PRIEST'S ANNINA
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
I liked this story so much that I read it about five times already. All the fact about Vivaldi and Venice and playing violin are so real and interesting. I would recommend it to anybody who likes fictional stories with non fiction facts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Allen-Attar on March 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mom and 8 year old violin player loved this book. The book brought to life Vivaldi's Venice, taught a bit of history, and the special violin, showed the bond between a girl and her music. We read this book and also I vivaldi and loved both books. I wish the author would write more books like this to teach about other music and musicians. If you have an 8 year old violin player, I highly recommend this book. She wants to read this book over and over.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Janice Shefelman's ANNA MARIA'S GIFT comes with black and white illustrations by Robert Papp and tells the story of a young orphan's search to find her place in the world and her musical gifts. Recently orphaned Anna Maria is brought to Venice to live at an orphanage - and there hopes to achieve the musical success her father wanted for her. Her violin is her key to a better future in this winning story.
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