- Age Range: 5 - 9 years
- Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
- Lexile Measure: 1110L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 40 pages
- Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (January 25, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375836004
- ISBN-13: 978-0375836008
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,046,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Before There Was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George Hardcover – January 25, 2011
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Growing up in the early-eighteenth century as the privileged only child of a household slave and her plantation owner on a tiny West Indian island, Joseph Boulogne heard music from around the globe, and he learned to play violin. After his father took him and his mother to Paris, Boulogne lived free, although he still suffered discrimination as a �mulatto.� As he grew up, he became a gifted, feted student who was taught by two great masters and given a beautiful instrument before he played first violin with a Paris orchestra and eventually became its conductor. By 30, he was a star, the first musician of color to play for royalty and a renowned composer. An author�s note fills in more facts, but unfortunately, there are no sources included in this picture-book biography about a figure rarely featured in books for youth. The full-page, richly colored paintings give a strong sense of the changing settings, from plantation to palace, but most moving are the close-ups of the extraordinary musician with his fingers on the violin strings. Grades 1-3. --Hazel Rochman
About the Author
LESA CLINE-RANSOME is the author of highly acclaimed picture book biographies, including Young Pelé: Soccer's First Star, called "stirring" in a starred review from Booklist; Satchel Paige, an ALA Notable Book about an African American baseball hero; Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist, about an African American cyclist; and Helen Keller: The World in Her Heart. Visit her at www.lesaclineransome.com.
JAMES E. RANSOME is the illustrator of many award-winning titles, including Young Pelé: Soccer's First Star, a finalist for the NAACP Image Awards; Satchel Paige; and Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist. He is also the illustrator of Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building by Deborah Hopkinson, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor title and an ALA Notable Book; Creation, which won a Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration; and Let My People Go by Patricia C. McKissack, winner of an NAACP Image Award. Visit him at www.jamesransome.com.
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BEFORE THERE WAS MOZART shares the story of Joseph Boulogne, a boy born into at a time when many were defined by what they looked like and what they had instead of what they had to offer. For him, life was a complicated dance between the challenges of having a mother of color and a father of means. The mixture created just the right circumstances, however, for him to be educated and grow (as well as nurture) a love of music.
The Ransomes have taken this amazing story and presented it in a way that parents can not only share it with their children but read it for encouragement as well. The message of Joseph's life includes the importance of walking in your destiny and never allowing what others think about you to define who you are. Because of his hard work and determination, he was able to reach heights and places that would have seen impossible to so many.
His story and what he was able to achieve reminds me of the prophetic words of Proverbs 22:29: "Have you beheld a man skillful in his work? Before kings is where he will station himself; he will not station himself before commonplace men."
Before There Was Mozart, The Story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George (by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome) [...] chronicles an amazing story of Joseph, who played a significant part in the musical style of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. At the time of his birth it was foretold that he would one day meet the king and queen of France. Joseph had a very inspiring life that would have a great influence upon his future and helped to create his signature violin style.
As a young adult he began playing in an orchestra, Le Concert des Amateurs alongside Joseph Gossec, one of the finest composers. He later received a prestigious position as the first violinist and timekeeper for the orchestra which consisted of forty violinists, twelve cellos, eight double basses and a multitude of flutes, bassoons, trumpets and oboes. Under his direction the orchestra grew tremendously at which time Joseph had also created his new violin technique, deux symphonies concertantes.
Later, Mozart went from watching Joseph to being announced on the same performance bill. The prediction on Joseph's life ensued, he peformed before King Louis XVI, Queen Marie Antoinette and the entire royal court and was invited back on several occasions. His credentials were outstanding from his violin performances to serving his country. The street, Rue du Chevalier de Saint-George in Paris was named in his honor.
You may see the outer appearance of a child but if you look closely you will see their possibilities. Mentor a youth, help them to channel their energy, give them hope and help prepare them for the future.