The Music of Life

Bartolomeo Cristofori & the Invention of the Piano

The Music of Life

Illustrated by: Marjorie Priceman
For Ages: 4 - 8
Award-winning biographer Elizabeth Rusch and two-time Caldecott Honor–recipient Marjorie Priceman team up to tell the inspiring story of the invention of the world’s most popular instrument: the piano.

Bartolomeo Cristofori coaxes just the right sounds from the musical instruments he makes. Some of his keyboards can play piano, light and soft; others make forte notes ring out, strong and loud, but Cristofori longs to create an instrument that can be played both soft and loud.

His talent has caught the attention of Prince Ferdinando de Medici, who wants his court to become the musical center of Italy. The prince brings Cristofori to the noisy city of Florence, where the goldsmiths’ tiny hammers whisper tink, tink and the blacksmiths’ big sledgehammers shout BANG, BANG! Could hammers be the key to the new instrument?

At last Cristofori gets his creation just right. It is called the pianoforte, for what it can do. All around the world, people young and old can play the most intricate music of their lives, thanks to Bartolomeo Cristofori’s marvelous creation: the piano.
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 48 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781481444842 | 
  • April 2017 | 
  • Grades P - 3
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About the Author

Elizabeth Rusch
Photo by Lynne Spencer

Elizabeth Rusch

Elizabeth Rusch is an award-winning children’s book author and magazine writer. Her books include The Mighty Mars Rovers, For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart, and Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World. She teaches nonfiction and children’s literature at the Attic Institute in Portland, Oregon. Visit her online at ElizabethRusch.com.

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