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Music Was IT: Young Leonard Bernstein

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This biography of American composer, pianist, and conductor Leonard Bernstein takes readers from his childhood in Boston to his spectacular professional conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1943. Illustrated with archival photographs, mostly from the Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress, this book showcases the verve, energy, and wit of one This biography of American composer, pianist, and conductor Leonard Bernstein takes readers from his childhood in Boston to his spectacular professional conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1943. Illustrated with archival photographs, mostly from the Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress, this book showcases the verve, energy, and wit of one of the greatest American musicians of the 20th century.


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This biography of American composer, pianist, and conductor Leonard Bernstein takes readers from his childhood in Boston to his spectacular professional conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1943. Illustrated with archival photographs, mostly from the Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress, this book showcases the verve, energy, and wit of one This biography of American composer, pianist, and conductor Leonard Bernstein takes readers from his childhood in Boston to his spectacular professional conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic in 1943. Illustrated with archival photographs, mostly from the Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress, this book showcases the verve, energy, and wit of one of the greatest American musicians of the 20th century.

30 review for Music Was IT: Young Leonard Bernstein

  1. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    My twelve-year-old granddaughter handed me her copy of Music Was IT: Young Leonard Bernstein immediately upon the conclusion of her second reading of this well-researched biography; occasionally, she is so taken with a book, she must find another reader straightaway so she can have a discussion of its content, style, and merit as soon as possible. I was happy to accept her offer, having long admired Mr. Bernstein, the exuberant composer, conductor, and pianist who, among other brilliant accompli My twelve-year-old granddaughter handed me her copy of Music Was IT: Young Leonard Bernstein immediately upon the conclusion of her second reading of this well-researched biography; occasionally, she is so taken with a book, she must find another reader straightaway so she can have a discussion of its content, style, and merit as soon as possible. I was happy to accept her offer, having long admired Mr. Bernstein, the exuberant composer, conductor, and pianist who, among other brilliant accomplishments, gave the world West Side Story, as well as fourteen years of Young People's Concerts. Susan Goldman Rubin's book is charming in a self-conscious, Juvenile Nonfiction way. The inclusion of historical photographs of young Bernstein, his parents, friends, teachers, supporters, and contemporaries on the world stage are well-chosen, the inscriptions evidence of the deep affection he inspired in others. Rubin is more than thorough in providing details of "Lenny's" ascent to fame despite such potential hindrances as his being extremely young, American, Jewish, and opposed in his career choice by his disapproving father. Other famous conductors of the era tended to be older, European, and not-Jewish. It's a compelling ride. It is, in fact, a really fine story. One factual omission, however, dulls the shine somewhat: the author clearly knows that Bernstein was gay, but makes no reference to this crucial detail about the life of a man who broke cultural barriers on the strength of his unhesitating commitment to do what he knew he must do. My reading partner/granddaughter had little to say about the matter beyond, "Huh. Why didn't they say that in the book?" I told her I had no idea why not, and we left it at that. Curious, though, isn't it?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Sidney Taylor Book Award for Older Readers 2012 winner. Very readable story of Leonard Bernstein's childhood and formative years before his fame as a conductor and composer. Well-chosen pictures of Bernstein, his family, friends and colleagues.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anson Cassel Mills

    Intended for middle school readers, this inspirational biography of the young Leonard Bernstein is well researched and gracefully written, quite capable of captivating parents as well as children. Bernstein’s sexual proclivities are mentioned only in a single sentence, and although his death is partially blamed on emphysema “due to smoking,” none of the well-chosen photographs show Bernstein holding a cigarette.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Richie Partington

    31 May 2011 MUSIC WAS IT: YOUNG LEONARD BERNSTEIN by Susan Goldman Rubin, Charlesbridge, February 2011, 178p., ISBN: 978-1-58089-344-2 "When you're a Jet you're a Jet all the way From your first cigarette to your last dying day." -- from "West Side Story" After reading the first few chapters of MUSIC WAS IT: YOUNG LEONARD BERNSTEIN, I was dying to see Leonard Bernstein in action. I watched some great scenes on YouTube from Bernstein's Young People's Concert at Carnegie Hall in 1964, when he was 31 May 2011 MUSIC WAS IT: YOUNG LEONARD BERNSTEIN by Susan Goldman Rubin, Charlesbridge, February 2011, 178p., ISBN: 978-1-58089-344-2 "When you're a Jet you're a Jet all the way From your first cigarette to your last dying day." -- from "West Side Story" After reading the first few chapters of MUSIC WAS IT: YOUNG LEONARD BERNSTEIN, I was dying to see Leonard Bernstein in action. I watched some great scenes on YouTube from Bernstein's Young People's Concert at Carnegie Hall in 1964, when he was 46. Then, I found a bunch of amazing video segments from the 1984 documentary "Leonard Bernstein Conducts 'West Side Story.'" This guy had such an infectious enthusiasm for music, so obviously loved what he was doing and, unquestionably, had such a wonderful influence on young people -- for generations -- that it causes me, once again, to ponder how so many grownups and their elected representatives can be so clueless as to the necessity of supporting arts and culture, in general, and, specifically, the necessity for including music in the curriculum. In MUSIC WAS IT, which follows young Lenny Bernstein's life until he "makes it" at age 25, Susan Goldman Rubin reveals how Bernstein was obsessed with the piano throughout his childhood, adolescence, and college years. We see how his father Sam, an immigrant from the Ukraine, was repeatedly reluctant to support his oldest child in this endeavor because musicians in the old country were seen as little more than beggars. Sam, who founded a successful hair products supply company, saw his eldest son's piano playing as a fine diversion but expected Lenny to work in and eventually take over his business. Instead, we see how Lenny stuck to his passion and dreams, and how he performed and taught piano from a young age in order to earn the money necessary for his own lessons from teachers who could help the budding musical genius. We see how Lenny strove to be an outstanding student in all subjects, yet was moved by nothing else to the degree that he was moved by music. Lenny's talent and dedication led him to Harvard and to being mentored by a who's who of famous conductors and composers of the day. It also helped him slice through the long odds he faced as a young Jew in an often anti-Semitic America. While some fortuitous circumstances came into play as Bernstein -- with but a morning's notice -- made his improbable and triumphant debut at age 25, conducting the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, the reality is that a young lifetime of dedication and hard work put him in that unlikely place to have the opportunity and to wildly succeed. My life is certainly richer for his having done so. Richie Partington, MLIS Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com [email protected] Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_... Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EcolIt/ http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/facult...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Why I picked it up: This bio has been on a lot of “best of” lists for nonfiction and I was interested in knowing more about Bernstein, who I could have told you nothing about. And to tell the truth, I love yelling out “Leonard Bernstein” whenever I hear REM’s “It’s the end of the world and we know it” and I figured I kind of owed him some knowledge on my part. The subtitle of this book is “young Leonard Bernstein” and that is fairly accurate—the book ends after his debut at Carnegie Hall when he Why I picked it up: This bio has been on a lot of “best of” lists for nonfiction and I was interested in knowing more about Bernstein, who I could have told you nothing about. And to tell the truth, I love yelling out “Leonard Bernstein” whenever I hear REM’s “It’s the end of the world and we know it” and I figured I kind of owed him some knowledge on my part. The subtitle of this book is “young Leonard Bernstein” and that is fairly accurate—the book ends after his debut at Carnegie Hall when he was 25. His early life is chronicled well, and the triumph that leapt him into the public eye seems a good stopping point if you are not going to do a whole life biography. I enjoyed it a lot. The information is very through without being overwhelming. And I love all the additional information included at the end. There are mini-biographies (about a third of a page) on many of the people Bernstein came into contact with, there’s a partial list of recordings of Bernstein’s compositions and orchestras he’s conducted, and there’s a brief summary of his life after that pivotal concert in 1943. There are also a good number of photographs throughout. This is the second book I’ve read recently about a person in the arts whose parent is quite unsupportive of the artistic endeavor. (The other was Pablo Neruda.) It’s interesting to me to wonder what those parents think of their child’s calling now. Not totally relevant to the book, but something I thought about while reading. Contains: Nothing Objectionable Genre Bingo: Biography

  6. 5 out of 5

    Penny Johnson

    Okay, maybe I could give this a 2.5, but no more. During the twenty years I taught piano I was always looking for engaging books to help my students become familiar with great composers and musicians. I would not be able to recommend this book. I thought it was boring. I kept wondering what I was missing considering this was a 2012 finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction award. The plot is simple: Lenny Bernstein was a gifted musician from childhood, but his father didn't thin Okay, maybe I could give this a 2.5, but no more. During the twenty years I taught piano I was always looking for engaging books to help my students become familiar with great composers and musicians. I would not be able to recommend this book. I thought it was boring. I kept wondering what I was missing considering this was a 2012 finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction award. The plot is simple: Lenny Bernstein was a gifted musician from childhood, but his father didn't think there was a future in music so he kept encouraging his son to give up music and take over the family business. The book marches us through Lenny's childhood, teen and college years, tossing around names of famous composers and conductors that helped him along the way. Dry stuff. (And we never find out if Sam Bernstein finally admits that his son made the right career choice!!) I think this book really needs an accompanying CD. Don't just tell me about Aaron Copland's music--let me listen to it! Don't just print a piece of sheet music written by Bernstein--let me hear it! Actually, this would be even better with an accompanying DVD. Let me see Bernstein's unique conducting style. Let me see him pounding on a piano. Show me a clip from West Side Story. Oh well. I guess I'm going to find West Side Story on Netflix....

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    For most of his life ‘Lenny’ followed a dream of his that most people thought was impossible. Lenny wanted to be a musician, and not just any musician, he wanted to be a famous conductor and lead an entire orchestra. Music Was IT is Lenny’s biography, which tells the story of Lenny’s many challenges, the biggest being his father (who never believed in him) and his Jewish heritage, which was not a good thing to have when you’re a kid growing up in the early 20th century. Even worse, when Lenny wa For most of his life ‘Lenny’ followed a dream of his that most people thought was impossible. Lenny wanted to be a musician, and not just any musician, he wanted to be a famous conductor and lead an entire orchestra. Music Was IT is Lenny’s biography, which tells the story of Lenny’s many challenges, the biggest being his father (who never believed in him) and his Jewish heritage, which was not a good thing to have when you’re a kid growing up in the early 20th century. Even worse, when Lenny was learning to be a musician (by paying for his own lessons I might add), almost every famous musician and conductor in the world was European, and trained in Europe: not American, and certainly not Jewish. But Lenny kept studying music anyway, because ever since he first started playing his aunt’s beat-up old piano, he knew that music was the only thing he ever wanted to do. That. Was. IT. This intriguing and informative look at one of the greatest, and most unlikely, success stories in 20th century music should also interest history fans; not just because it provides a view of what the United States looked like outside of the factories during World War II (something you don’t see every day), but also because of the many historical photographs throughout its pages that are so well-timed you’d think they’re reading along with you.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Paige Y.

    This is a fascinating account of Leonard Bernstein’s life from his birth until his debut as a conductor of the New York Philharmonic in 1943 at the age of 25. Bernstein had a lot going against him in his desire to be a musician and conductor. His father, a Russian immigrant, was adamantly opposed to the idea. He wanted his son in a stable, reliable job – working for him selling machines that would give women permanent waves. From the beginnings of his life, however Lenny just wanted to make musi This is a fascinating account of Leonard Bernstein’s life from his birth until his debut as a conductor of the New York Philharmonic in 1943 at the age of 25. Bernstein had a lot going against him in his desire to be a musician and conductor. His father, a Russian immigrant, was adamantly opposed to the idea. He wanted his son in a stable, reliable job – working for him selling machines that would give women permanent waves. From the beginnings of his life, however Lenny just wanted to make music. Becoming a conductor seemed an almost impossible dream because at the time all of the important conductors in America were born and trained in Europe. Lenny, however persevered and when the guest conductor of the New York Philharmonic became ill, he was asked to fill in. His performance was so successful that it was never again in doubt that he would be a famous conductor. Bernstein went on to conduct and compose music, both classical and contemporary (including West Side Story). This is not a book that I would hand to any kid, but it is perfect for the student who is committed to music. It would also be good for the child who has a lot of obstacles to face in order to achieve a dream. It’s an excellent read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This is a wonderful biography of the talented pianist, conductor, and composer. Many readers may have heard of Bernstein only through West Side Story, but after reading this story of his early years--up until he's 25, having successfully conducted the New York Philharmonic in Carnegie Hall--they will certainly know much more about Lenny. Lenny had to reach for his dreams without the support of his father, a wealthy Jewish businessman who feared that a musical career offered no financial stabilit This is a wonderful biography of the talented pianist, conductor, and composer. Many readers may have heard of Bernstein only through West Side Story, but after reading this story of his early years--up until he's 25, having successfully conducted the New York Philharmonic in Carnegie Hall--they will certainly know much more about Lenny. Lenny had to reach for his dreams without the support of his father, a wealthy Jewish businessman who feared that a musical career offered no financial stability. At various points, he worked to pay for his own piano lessons. Drawing from personal interviews, Rubin creates a tribute to Bernstein that celebrates his passion for life and his enduring love for music. He almost lives and breathes in the pages of the text. For the curious who want to know more, she also provides extensive backmatter: A timeline, thumbnail biographical sketches of the folks who were important in Lenny's life, notes on his music, a bibliograpy, and Sources of Quotations. More than 75 photos insure that readers have images of Lennie at different points of his life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Treasure

    An inspiring look at the early life of conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, following him from his early years and his father’s disapproval of his love of music up to his triumphal conducting at Carnegie Hall at the young age of 25. A wonderful, almost unbelievably true story of a man’s passion and talent for music and his determination to follow his dreams, despite anti-Semitism and his father’s fear that a career in music would result in poverty and disappointment. The story is solid, wel An inspiring look at the early life of conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, following him from his early years and his father’s disapproval of his love of music up to his triumphal conducting at Carnegie Hall at the young age of 25. A wonderful, almost unbelievably true story of a man’s passion and talent for music and his determination to follow his dreams, despite anti-Semitism and his father’s fear that a career in music would result in poverty and disappointment. The story is solid, well written, and interesting. The book also provides an index, sources, discography, mini biographies, and a bibliography (with denotations of books good for young readers). Along with the solid binding and pages, the book is an excellent addition in a school library, particularly one with a focus on the arts. (Reviewed for Puget Sound Council)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I was fascinated by this book. Not only did I learn a lot about Bernstein, but I learned what a different world the American classical music scene was back in his time. I really had no idea that you basically had to be European or European-trained to conduct one of the major American symphony orchestras. I also enjoyed reading about Bernstein's personality and exploits - he definitely seemed to live life at full speed! Although this is a fabulous book, I don't know that it will snag many readers I was fascinated by this book. Not only did I learn a lot about Bernstein, but I learned what a different world the American classical music scene was back in his time. I really had no idea that you basically had to be European or European-trained to conduct one of the major American symphony orchestras. I also enjoyed reading about Bernstein's personality and exploits - he definitely seemed to live life at full speed! Although this is a fabulous book, I don't know that it will snag many readers. A lot of libraries will probably pick it up because it was on the 2012 ALA Notable List and was a finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award, but I think it will see plenty of shelf time. However, it would be an easy sell to students interested in music; conducting composing, or just the history of music - it's all in there!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alix

    So much I didn't know about Bernstein. I am from/live in the Boston area, and there was a lot in here about his connections to Boston and to Sharon, where his family had a summer house. I really liked how the book showed his tenaciousness and dedication, even in the face of his father constantly trying to persuade him to abandon music as a profession. Even with that, he seemed to have been close to his family and they did support him in many ways, despite not always agreeing with his decisions. So much I didn't know about Bernstein. I am from/live in the Boston area, and there was a lot in here about his connections to Boston and to Sharon, where his family had a summer house. I really liked how the book showed his tenaciousness and dedication, even in the face of his father constantly trying to persuade him to abandon music as a profession. Even with that, he seemed to have been close to his family and they did support him in many ways, despite not always agreeing with his decisions. It is hard to read about music without hearing it, and I'm not sure young readers would have the context to understand how groundbreaking much of what Bernstein's work was. I liked how it kept its focus just on the years leading up to his debut at Carnegie Hall, and really honed in on what it took to get there.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan Menk

    Tags: Carter G. Woodson Book Award, Leonard Bernstein, music, piano, conducting, Jewish Americans, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Aaron Copland, childhood, protege, family business Leonard Bernstein was the son of a Jewish immigrant who wanted nothing more for his son that to see him take over the family hair salon business. But Leonard had other ideas--he wanted to play and make music. Taking on odd jobs, studying with anyone who would take him on, Leonard worked hard to achieve his dreams and Tags: Carter G. Woodson Book Award, Leonard Bernstein, music, piano, conducting, Jewish Americans, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Aaron Copland, childhood, protege, family business Leonard Bernstein was the son of a Jewish immigrant who wanted nothing more for his son that to see him take over the family hair salon business. But Leonard had other ideas--he wanted to play and make music. Taking on odd jobs, studying with anyone who would take him on, Leonard worked hard to achieve his dreams and at the age of 25 became the youngest conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. This book explores the early life and childhood of one of America's most well known conductors. Carter G. Woodson Book Award 2012 Rubin, Susan Goldman. "Music was IT." Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2011.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    This was an exciting biography to read. It felt like what Leonard Bernstein would have written, if he had done an autobiography for kids. Lots of primary sources used, particularly family members especially his brother and sister, as well as other family members and friends. I particularly liked the section in the back matter where the author wrote minibiographies of famous people mentioned in the book so you understood what they did to be well known and just how they connected to Bernstein's li This was an exciting biography to read. It felt like what Leonard Bernstein would have written, if he had done an autobiography for kids. Lots of primary sources used, particularly family members especially his brother and sister, as well as other family members and friends. I particularly liked the section in the back matter where the author wrote minibiographies of famous people mentioned in the book so you understood what they did to be well known and just how they connected to Bernstein's life. I also loved the discography which states that he [Bernstein] had too many recordings to list here but these are the ones readers might enjoy and the ones in my collection I listened to over and over while writing this book. I'll have to copy the page and pick up some of those CDs!

  15. 4 out of 5

    C.A.

    Not for everyone, but I liked this biography of the steps that Leonard Bernstein, a Jewish kid from Boston, took to enter the exclusive world of orchastra conducting. As a musical theater geek, you can't look at 20th century musical theater and not know who he is, but I thought this book would be a good one for kids/young teens who are into music in a big way. I suspect that theough they might not be fans of the genre, the act of falling in love with music, of being obsessed with it, are the sam Not for everyone, but I liked this biography of the steps that Leonard Bernstein, a Jewish kid from Boston, took to enter the exclusive world of orchastra conducting. As a musical theater geek, you can't look at 20th century musical theater and not know who he is, but I thought this book would be a good one for kids/young teens who are into music in a big way. I suspect that theough they might not be fans of the genre, the act of falling in love with music, of being obsessed with it, are the same no matter the insterment or type of music. Also, the truth that while his father supported him financially, he never wanted his son to be a musician. For kids pursuing an unusual career path, they will empathize with Len and appherate the courage it took for him to stick to his guns.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Loved this. Lots of details about his many and varied musical interests--piano (an incredible sight reader) musical theater, composing--more than I had been aware of. I especially liked that Bernstein's father was so resistant to his musical career, all through the beginning of his career, hoping that "Lenny" would someday take over his beauty supply company. That is such a common dynamic, and one I'm sure many young people will experience. Plus it makes his story more interesting-- the jobs he h Loved this. Lots of details about his many and varied musical interests--piano (an incredible sight reader) musical theater, composing--more than I had been aware of. I especially liked that Bernstein's father was so resistant to his musical career, all through the beginning of his career, hoping that "Lenny" would someday take over his beauty supply company. That is such a common dynamic, and one I'm sure many young people will experience. Plus it makes his story more interesting-- the jobs he had to do to pay for his musical training!--although I'm sure it made his life more stressful. Eye-opening and inspiring.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dolores

    Super engaging biography! I really didn't know a lot about Leonard Bernstein, and I'm SO not a nonfiction fan, but I read this one cover to cover in one sitting. Bernstein seemed to lead a sort of charmed life--even though all the odds seemed to be against him from the start--there he was, stumbling into the people he needed to meet, being in the right place at the right time and drawing people to him right and left like moths to the flame of his intensity. He was a talented, fascinating man, an Super engaging biography! I really didn't know a lot about Leonard Bernstein, and I'm SO not a nonfiction fan, but I read this one cover to cover in one sitting. Bernstein seemed to lead a sort of charmed life--even though all the odds seemed to be against him from the start--there he was, stumbling into the people he needed to meet, being in the right place at the right time and drawing people to him right and left like moths to the flame of his intensity. He was a talented, fascinating man, and his life made for a fascinating read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Arlene Szalay

    This book can be used as a non-fiction resource for the common core. This was an inspiring book about the young Leonard Bernstein. His love of music and zest for life enable him to overcome many challenges in his life. His father did not want him to become a musician, though his mother supported his artistic expression. Because I have seen his concerts for young people, it was very interesting to learn about his life. Bernstein's contributions to music can be compared/contrasted to either earlie This book can be used as a non-fiction resource for the common core. This was an inspiring book about the young Leonard Bernstein. His love of music and zest for life enable him to overcome many challenges in his life. His father did not want him to become a musician, though his mother supported his artistic expression. Because I have seen his concerts for young people, it was very interesting to learn about his life. Bernstein's contributions to music can be compared/contrasted to either earlier composers or to modern music.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sariah

    It was interesting reading about this guy, he had a clarity of where he wanted to do with his life that was almost like a fairy tale. This guy really lived the American dream, starting at the bottom and soaring to the top. I am jealous :) The biography ended rather suddenly so I wonder what he did with the rest of his life.... PS. I am also jealous of his sight read skills and ability to go on the fly by making up the bottom hand by understanding chords. Oh how I wish I could do that!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Penny Peck

    Combining an interesting narrative with lots of b&w photos, Rubin has once again created a fascinating biography of a fascinating person. Here, the emphasis is on Bernstein's youth, ending with his triumphant debut as conductor of the New York Philharmonic at age 25. Tween and teen readers may identify with the major conflict in Bernstein's life: his father did not want him to pursue a career in music. Combining an interesting narrative with lots of b&w photos, Rubin has once again created a fascinating biography of a fascinating person. Here, the emphasis is on Bernstein's youth, ending with his triumphant debut as conductor of the New York Philharmonic at age 25. Tween and teen readers may identify with the major conflict in Bernstein's life: his father did not want him to pursue a career in music.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Audience: Probably more for middle grades, 6th grade and up. Aspiring musicians will love this story. Students with Jewish heritage may also relate to this story. Appeal: Biography that's packed full of information, but condensed enough for a younger audience. Details the entire story of Leonard Bernstein's musical aspirations. Contains many interesting little stories from his life and lots of pictures. Carter G. Woodson Book Award list

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Designed for ages 12+, this is a great biography of Bernstein's life up 1943. It is particularly inspirational for those following their passion in life despite the odds. Given its larger typeface, this would also be a wonderful gift for those challenged by regular type books. The photos and interview quotes really add to the picture. Bravo!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    An accessible and interesting biography, filled with photos and letters that bring the period to life, Music Was It explores Leonard Bernstein's childhood and young adulthood (stopping just after Bernstein breaks barriers by conducting the New York Philharmonic). This is a great choice for aspiring musicians.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Won the Carter G. Woodson Award in 2012. This is a biography of the life of Leonard (Lenny) Bernstein. He is a famous composer, musician and conductor. Lenny composed "West Side Story" among other famous works. The book is full of real life pictures of Lenny and other important individuals in his life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Alcorn

    Another great story about a mans life. He chased his dream just like Roy Campanella. This books are such a good inspiration to kids because it shows them that they cant become anything they set their mind to. Just an uplifting story and the colors in the drawings made it look very cool and interesting.

  26. 4 out of 5

    pianogal

    This was a REALLY good book. It is written for 9-12 year olds, but I couldn't put it down once I started and I'm a WEE bit older. Also, good pictures of other really famous people as well. If you need a Lenny book - check this one out!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    Wonderful book. It is about what happens when your father tell you all you can do in life is to work in the family business and music should be nothing but a hobby. Yet you know yourself that music is your life.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christina Getrost

    Fascinating look at the early life of composer Leonard Bernstein, how he fought against his father's wishes to become a musician. (His father wanted him to take over the family business, and earn a good living, something he never thought music would allow Leonard to do.)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Fantastic book, very accessible. I particularly appreciate the last several pages, which include brief bios of other musicians mentioned in the rest, as well as a great discography of conducting/compositions.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alice T

    Easy to read biography about Leonard Bernstein. I picked it up casually when it came across my desk to skim it before checking it into the system at my library and ended up reading it in one sitting. A good hour or two of reading.

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