This picture-book biography of violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman will inspire young readers to follow the melody within themselves
A 2021 Schneider Family Book Award Young Children Honor Book
Before becoming one of the greatest violinists of all time, Itzhak Perlman was simply a boy who loved music. Raised by a poor immigrant family in a tiny Tel Aviv apartment, baby Itzhak was transformed by the sounds from his family’s kitchen radio—graceful classical symphonies, lively klezmer tunes, and soulful cantorial chants. The rich melodies and vibrant rhythms spoke to him like magic, filling his mind with vivid rainbows of color. After begging his parents for an instrument, Itzhak threw his heart and soul into playing the violin. Despite enormous obstacles—including a near-fatal bout of polio that left him crippled for life—Itzhak persevered, honing his extraordinary gift. When he performed on the Ed Sullivan Show sat only 13, audiences around the world were mesmerized by the warmth, joy, and passion in every note. Gorgeously illustrated with extensive back matter, this picture-book biography recounts Itzhak’s childhood journey—from a boy with a dream to an internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso.
"The Perlmans' tiny apartment seemed ordinary.... Yet a little kitchen radio\t transformed this simple home." More significantly, this particular radio transformed the world by inspiring young Itzhak Perlman, renowned violinist and beloved public figure. Newman conducts readers through Perlman's childhood in Tel Aviv, revealing his resilience in the face of obstacles, including, at age four, a bout of polio that left him reliant on crutches or braces. "Running around the block, riding a bicycle, jumping off a diving board all these ordinary things Itzhak would never be able to do. But Itzhak... knew the melody inside him gave him a different gift." After growing serious about the violin, the boy performs at age six and solos by age 10. Newman's appealing story culminates with the teenage Perlman's life-changing 1958 performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Halpin's colorful illustrations of a young Perlman, ribboned by swirling staves of musical scores, reflect his vivid inner world and warm-hearted life. Includes a timeline, notes, and bibliography. Ages 4 8. \n