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The Man with the Violin

By Kathy Stinson
Illustrated by Dušan Petričić
Categories: Children's Fiction
Themes: music
Interest Age: 5–8
Grade: p–2
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: RL.2-3.1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Reading Level: Lexile AD620L
Hardcover : 9781554515653, 36 pages, September 2013 , 8.30" x 10.31"
Paperback : 9781554515646, 32 pages, March 2016 , 8" x 10"
Rights sold: Korean, English, Serbian, Slovenian, Turkish, French, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, Portuguese, Italian


Who is playing that beautiful music in the subway? And why is nobody listening?

This gorgeous picture book is based on the true story of Joshua Bell, the renowned American violinist who famously took his instrument down into the Washington D.C. subway for a free concert. More than a thousand commuters rushed by him, but only seven stopped to listen for more than a minute. In The Man with the Violin, bestselling author Kathy Stinson has woven a heart-warming story that reminds us all to stop and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

Dylan is someone who notices things. His mom is someone who doesn’t. So try as he might, Dylan can’t get his mom to listen to the man playing the violin in the subway station. But Dylan is swept away by the soaring and swooping notes that fill the air as crowds of oblivious people rush by. With the beautiful music in his head all day long, Dylan can’t forget the violinist, and finally succeeds in making his mother stop and listen, too.

Vividly imagined text combined with illustrations that pulse with energy and movement expertly demonstrate the transformative power of music. With a postscript explaining Joshua Bell’s story, and afterword by Joshua Bell himself.


  • Winner, Digital Book Award 2014
  • Commended, Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award, Honorable Mention 2014
  • Joint winner, National Parenting Publications Award 2014
  • Joint winner, Storytelling World Honor Book 2014
  • Joint winner, 100 Best Canadian Kids’ Books, Today’s Parent Magazine 2014
  • Joint winner, Best Book List, Kirkus Reviews 2014
  • Winner, TD Children’s Literature Award 2014
  • Runner-up, Nautilus Award, Silver 2014
  • Joint winner, Independent Publisher Book Award, Gold 2014
  • Joint winner, Notable Book for a Global Society 2014
  • Joint winner, Next Generation Indie Book Award 2014
  • Commended, Best Bets List, Honourable Mention, Ontario Library Association 2014
  • Joint winner, White Ravens Collection, International Youth Library, Munich 2014
  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2014


“This captivating tale is a beautiful balance between a simple but powerful text and illustrations that are full of vitality and rhythm.”

- CM Reviews, 10/13

“Find that book and open to page one. Sigh. Swoon. Hooked.”

- Nerdy Book Club, 01/18/14

“In a world of sounds that aren’t always as pleasant as a Stradivarius, Stinson and Petricic remind readers young (and especially old) to stop and listen to the arpeggios.”

- Publishers Weekly, 07/29/13

“This is a lyrical explanation of the value of the arts in the human experience.”

- Library Media Connection, 03/14

“A rich springboard for creative learning across the curriculum . . . a must for any classroom or school library.”

- Professionally Speaking, 06/14

“The author and illustrator bring music to life in this touching book that reminds us of the curious nature of children, and their ability to notice things that adults ignore.”

- The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 02/14

“I want to read it over and over again . . . I want it to get attention, lots of attention, because that’s what it deserves.”

- Reading and Sharing, 10/13

“The art work is stunning; sophisticated, yet sensible enough to appeal to children.”

- Mike Lewis, Reading Specialist, District of Columbia, 09/29/13

“A wonderful tale about the importance of music in one’s life relayed in a simple, entertaining manner.”

- Resource Links, 12/13

“The story is simple, but the language has its own musicality . . . gorgeous illustrations . . . are as light and lucid as they are satirical.”

- Booklist, 11/15/13

“A fine reminder of the old adage to stop and smell the roses.”

- School Library Journal, 10/13

“Imaginatively illustrated and beautifully written, this offbeat ode to the power of music is a winner.”

- Kirkus Reviews, *starred review, 08/03/13

“The art bursts forth, creating a stunning visual expression of Stinson’s text.”

- Quill & Quire, *starred review, 11/13

“This is a lyrical explanation of the value of the arts in the human experience.”

- Library Media Connection, 03/14

“The art bursts forth, creating a stunning visual expression of Stinson’s text.”

- Quill & Quire, *starred review, 11/13

“A brilliant portrayal of the sensitivities of children and the sad loss of that wonder by most adults.”

- CanLit for Little Canadians, 09/05/13

“Stinson’s melodious descriptions and Petricic’s colourful swirls seem to envelop the reader, captivating them just like the music captivates Dylan.”

- National Reading Campaign, Readerly, 01/28/14