The most recommended violin books

Who picked these books? Meet our 15 experts.

15 authors created a book list connected to violins, and here are their favorite violin books.
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Book cover of Broken Strings

Carol Fisher Saller Author Of Maddie's Ghost

From my list on middle-grade mysteries about multigenerational family secrets.

Who am I?

The older I get, the more fascinated I am with family history and the way certain traits or talents get passed down – or not. Unfortunately, we don’t always know much about our own ancestors. Maybe that’s why I appreciate a multigenerational story that shows all the forms a young person’s “inheritance” can take, whether money, looks, a special skill or talent, or even a disease. And because I’ve always loved a good mystery, I enjoy books where a young person seeks to uncover a family secret. Finally, now that I’m on the older side of the generations, I appreciate a book that portrays older family members realistically and with respect.

Carol's book list on middle-grade mysteries about multigenerational family secrets

Carol Fisher Saller Why did Carol love this book?

I love a good tear-jerker, and I love a book where a child has a solid and credible relationship with a grandparent, and I love a good junior-high musical. Believe it or not, this book has all that!

I pretty much blubbered through the last 10 chapters. The secret that Shirli’s grandfather has hidden for decades is a heart-wrenching one, but when it comes out it contains seeds of joy and healing. 

By Eric Walters, Kathy Kacer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Broken Strings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A violin and a middle-school musical unleash a dark family secret in this moving story by an award-winning author duo. For fans of The Devil's Arithmetic and Hana's Suitcase.

It's 2002. In the aftermath of the twin towers -- and the death of her beloved grandmother -- Shirli Berman is intent on moving forward. The best singer in her junior high, she auditions for the lead role in Fiddler on the Roof, but is crushed to learn that she's been given the part of the old Jewish mother in the musical rather than the coveted part of the sister. But…


Book cover of Power Forward

Marcia Strykowski Author Of Roller Boy

From my list on featuring boys who crave success.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a fan of stories where the underdog makes good due to their own strength and determination. Although my book picks are all connected to sports I don’t happen to participate in, I feel the power of choosing the life you want by working hard encompasses all fields whether it be learning to sing or dance or becoming an expert in science, chess, juggling, or whatever one’s passion might be. For me, I guess it would be writing and not giving up even when it sometimes feels like playing the lottery each time one of my manuscripts is sent into cyberspace.

Marcia's book list on featuring boys who crave success

Marcia Strykowski Why did Marcia love this book?

Zayd is a couple of years younger (4th grade) than the main characters of my other book picks, but again, he is a boy seeking fame and glory through sports. In particular, I enjoy his voice and learning about the Pakastani (Muslim) culture of his interesting family. The frustrating pull between basketball and playing the violin sets up several intriguing situations. This is a fun story that turns out to be the first book in a series of four.

By Hena Khan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Power Forward as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

From the critically acclaimed author of Amina's Voice comes the first book in an exciting new middle grade series about a fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom.

Fourth grader Zayd Saleem has some serious hoop dreams. He's not just going to be a professional basketball player. He's going to be a star. A legend. The first Pakistani-American kid to make it to the NBA. He knows this deep in his soul. It's his destiny. There are only a few small things in his way.

For starters, Zayd's only on the D-team. (D stands for developmental, but to Zayd it's…


Book cover of The Rainaldi Quartet

Gerald Elias Author Of Cloudy with a Chance of Murder: A Daniel Jacobus Mystery

From my list on mysteries in the world of classical music.

Who am I?

I’ve spent a lifetime as a professional classical musician and a mystery reader. Starting with Hardy Boys adventures at the same time I started playing the violin, my intertwined love affairs with music and the mystery genre continue to this day. As a long-time member of major American symphony orchestras, I’ve heard and experienced so many stories about the dark corners of the classical music world that they could fill a library. It gives me endless pleasure to read other mystery authors’ take on this fascinating, semi-cloistered world and to share some of my own tales with the lay public in my Daniel Jacobus mystery series.

Gerald's book list on mysteries in the world of classical music

Gerald Elias Why did Gerald love this book?

Paul Adam takes readers on a tense, insiders journey through the shadowy netherworld of priceless antique violins in search for the holy grail of violins, Stradivari’s “Sister Messiah,” that leaves a trail of dead bodies in its path. The hero, Giovanni Castiglione (like Amadeo Borlotti in my Daniel Jacobus mystery, Playing With Fire) is an under-the-radar violin forger with a conscience. As a professional violinist for a half-century, I can attest that The Rainaldi Quartet is absolutely true to life from start to finish. I was unable to put it down. Adam hits the nail on the head in this gripping tale of byzantine intrigue. A virtuoso tour de force!

By Paul Adam,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rainaldi Quartet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gianni Castiglione has a pleasant, quiet life in Cremona. A luthier'a maker and repairer of violins'he spends most of his time adoring his grandchildren and playing chamber-quartets with the local priest, the chief of police, and a fellow aging luthier, Tomaso Rainaldi. Rainaldi is in thrall to music's myths, particularly the stories about the 'Messiah's Sister,' a priceless, centuries-old, and possibly imaginary violin. When Rainaldi is brutally murdered and his workroom destroyed, it becomes clear that violins had something to do with his death, and the chief of police needs Castiglione's knowledge of the luthier's world. Following the clues will…


Book cover of The Vampire's Violin

C.A. Verstraete Author Of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter

From my list on zombies and monsters with alternate realities.

Who am I?

Growing up in Chicago, I’ve always had a fascination for history, (even if it was sometimes a bit gory!), from Capone and the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre to reading about monsters and the unique worlds created by favorite author Stephen King. So, it’s probably not too surprising that I combined both interests and offered a new solution to the infamous Lizzie Borden axe murders of 1892 in my own book series. I enjoy reading, and writing, the serious to the not-so-serious, often incorporating touches of humor, or at least the absurd, where and whenever I can. 

C.A.'s book list on zombies and monsters with alternate realities

C.A. Verstraete Why did C.A. love this book?

While there are better-known vampire novels from the classic Dracula by Bram Stoker, to Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, this was a story that mesmerized me with a perfect combination of history, music, and vampires. In this story of one vampire’s unquenchable desire to possess a particular violin, I found the supernatural elements and historic details as riveting as the haunting music this priceless violin is said to make.

By Michael Romkey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vampire's Violin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Listen to its haunting, angelic sound

After centuries of life, the Vampire has just two passions left: blood and music. The blood of innocents is plentiful and easily attained—it is his other passion that torments him. Many years ago he owned and lost a violin that sang with the voice of the angels. Now this unearthly monster will do anything to press the instrument once more against his neck.

As it summons a hellish creature of the night

Maggie O’Hara was a talented if unremarkable violinist—until the day her grandfather gives her a violin he had brought home from World…


Book cover of One of the Girls in the Band: The Memoirs of a Violinist from Birkenau

Susan J. Eischeid Author Of Mistress Of Life And Death: The Dark Journey of Maria Mandl, Head Overseer of the Women's Camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau

From my list on Holocaust books exploring the precious lives lost.

Who am I?

I’ve been drawn to the Holocaust ever since a school project in the tenth grade. Later, as I worked to become a professional musician, the passion to learn more about the topic never left me. When I was first asked to perform some music of the Holocaust, the reaction of the audience (tears) and my own realization that through the power of this music, I could return a voice to so many who had their own voices so cruelly silenced changed my life. To date, I have interviewed multiple survivors of the Holocaust. Many became very dear friends, and my life has been infinitely enriched by knowing them. 

Susan's book list on Holocaust books exploring the precious lives lost

Susan J. Eischeid Why did Susan love this book?

I love this memoir because the author was a very dear and cherished friend.

I first met Helena, already quite elderly, when I was interviewing former members of the Auschwitz-Birkenau women’s orchestra. Over the next several years, we built a warm friendship, with Helena helping me every step of the way with her discerning criticisms and fierce quest for remembrance and truth.

Years later, I was desperate for her to remain alive long enough to see publication of the book we were working on. Literally, on her deathbed, I was sending parts of the manuscript to the hospital in Poland. Miraculously, she rallied to give feedback and corrections. Helena lived another two years and died at the age of 102. This is the autobiography of my dear friend.

By Helena Dunicz Niwińska,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One of the Girls in the Band as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Helena Dunicz Niwińska was born in Vienna in 1915. She lived with her parents and brothers in her hometown of Lwów until 1943. At the age of 10, she began learning to play the violin at the conservatory of the Polish Musical Society. She studied pedagogy from 1934 to 1939, continuing her musical education the whole time. After their arrest in January 1943 and incarceration in Łącki Prison, she and her mother were deported to Auschwitz in October 1943. In Birkenau, she was a member of the women's orchestra—as a violinist—until January 1945. After being evacuated to the Ravensbrück and…


Book cover of Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin

Stephanie Calmenson Author Of Dinner at the Panda Palace

From my list on counting for young children.

Who am I?

I've written more than 100 books including the counting books Dinner at the Panda Palace (HarperCollins / PBS StoryTime) and Dozens of Dachshunds (Bloomsbury / Scholastic Book Clubs).  I also write easy readers such as Stomp! (Ready-to-Read / JLG) and early chapter books including the Our Principal series and, with Magic School Bus author Joanna Cole, The Adventures of Allie and Amy series. As a former early childhood teacher and children's book editor, I'm a big fan of counting books and look forward to writing – and reading – many more. 

Stephanie's book list on counting for young children

Stephanie Calmenson Why did Stephanie love this book?

In this perfect pairing of words and pictures, readers count along as instruments are added one by one, with musicians going from solo to duo to trio until a chamber group of ten is formed.

The language flows musically, "Gliding, sliding, high notes go low." 

The images soar and delight with detail. The book ends with calls for an encore and children are bound to ask for encore readings.

By Lloyd Moss, Marjorie Priceman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Caldecott Honor book that is the perfect introduction to musical instruments and a counting book that redefines the genre.

When this book begins, the trombone is playing all by itself. But soon a trumpet makes a duet, a french horn a trio, and so on until the entire orchestra is assembled on stage. Written in elegant and rhythmic verse and illustrated with playful and flowing artwork, this unique counting book is the perfect introduction to musical groups. Readers of all ages are sure to shout "Encore!" when they reach the final page of this joyous celebration of classical music.


Book cover of My City Speaks

Dana Meachen Rau Author Of Sense of Play

From my list on children’s stories to engage all the senses.

Who am I?

As children, my brother and I were constant playmates. He was an early riser and often woke me up so our day of play could begin as soon as possible. I have sight, and my brother is blind. Play for us was an all-senses experience. We felt the rumble of our bikes on the street, listened to the screech of the metal swing set, and guessed spices by their smell. We also devoured stories. We listened to audiobooks, he read to me in Braille, and I read to him. All of these experiences, and more, prepared me to be an author of numerous children’s books with sensory details to make stories come alive.

Dana's book list on children’s stories to engage all the senses

Dana Meachen Rau Why did Dana love this book?

I love this story for its simple language that recreates a walk through the city.

The main character uses a white cane, a simple indication that she is blind. Focusing on the sounds, both loud and quiet, the story lets readers soak in the atmosphere surrounding a young girl on her way to a violin recital. The illustrations, created in textured paper collage, are as layered as the words. 

By Darren Lebeuf, Ashley Barron (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My City Speaks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

A young girl, who is visually impaired, finds much to celebrate as she explores the city she loves.

A young girl and her father spend a day in the city, her city, traveling to the places they go together: the playground, the community garden, the market, an outdoor concert. As they do, the girl describes what she senses in delightfully precise, poetic detail. Her city, she says, “rushes and stops, and waits and goes.” It “pitters and patters, and drips and drains.” It “echoes” and “trills,” and is both “smelly” and “sweet.” Her city also speaks, as it “dings and…


Book cover of Courtney

Sally Muir Author Of Rescue Dogs

From my list on dog heroes.

Who am I?

I love dogs and I love books, so the combination is always beguiling to me. I have recently published my third book of dog art Rescue Dogs, I asked people to send me photos of their rescues, and as I now realise, all rescues come with a story, so they came with an extraordinary collection of stories about where they came from, how they were found, character sketches and descriptions of their idiosyncrasies. I realised that some of my favourite books have dogs heroes, there are 5 here but there could have been many many more.

Sally's book list on dog heroes

Sally Muir Why did Sally love this book?

This is a children’s picture book, by the brilliant writer and illustrator John Burningham.

It’s the story of a mongrel Courtney, who is brought home by two children to their snobbish parents, who don’t like him because he’s a mutt.

Courtney is brilliant, can cook, play the violin, juggle, is the perfect dog, and they’re still not satisfied.

It’s sad and sweet and has the most beautiful, deceptively simple drawings that break your heart.

By John Burningham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Courtney as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

When the children bring Courtney home he's just a loveable scruffy old dog. But the-mongrel-that-nobody-wants has the most amazing talents. He can cook! He can juggle! He can even play the violin! Then one day Courtney the wonder dog packs up his trunk and leaves home - but the children find out his helping paw is not far away...


Book cover of Sounds Like Titanic

Eugenia Cheng Author Of X + Y: A Mathematician's Manifesto for Rethinking Gender

From my list on beyond romance, motherhood, or emulating men.

Who am I?

I have been thinking a lot about what feminism means for me. In this interview, I said, "I wish more authors would write about strong women, beyond the strength and importance of motherhood, but not just emulating traditional male behavior." I feel that this is the kind of strong woman I am, as a woman forging a non-traditional path in mathematics. I have been on something of a mission to find books like this, and particularly ones written by women. I find such books frustratingly rare, so I wanted to recommend a few that I have found. There is more to being a woman than falling in love and having children.

Eugenia's book list on beyond romance, motherhood, or emulating men

Eugenia Cheng Why did Eugenia love this book?

This is my only non-fiction pick, but it reads a little like a gripping work of fiction except that I had to keep pinching myself to remember it really happened. The author is writing about her experience as a professional violinist in a "fake" orchestra. It is a wonderfully nuanced look at the gray area between "fake" and "real", which is devastatingly pertinent to our times. It challenges us to consider if we can actually always tell the difference and if the difference is really clear-cut at all. The reason I'm including it in the list is that the main protagonist, the author, is a strong woman who is determined to make her own way. And there is one section I found particularly satisfying, in which (and I don't think this will give too much away) she refuses to include any romance in the book. She declines to write of…

By Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sounds Like Titanic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When aspiring violinist Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman lands a job with a professional ensemble in New York City, she imagines she has achieved her lifelong dream. But the ensemble proves to be a sham. When the group "performs", the microphones are never on. Instead, the music blares from a CD. The mastermind behind this scheme is a peculiar and mysterious figure known as The Composer, who is gaslighting his audiences with music that sounds suspiciously like the Titanic movie soundtrack. On tour with his chaotic ensemble, Hindman spirals into crises of identity and disillusionment as she "plays" for audiences genuinely moved…


Book cover of Rush

Robin Hill Author Of Waiting for the Sun

From my list on romance for lovers of broken book boyfriends.

Who am I?

The tortured hero was my first love, and I’ve never been able to shake him. He never fails to crush me, and there’s nothing more rewarding to a masochistic reader than being completely annihilated, then put back together again. These heartbroken heartbreakers are easy to love (usually), easy to forgive (hopefully), and always keep you coming back for more (definitely). My character, Darian, was born of my search for the perfect tortured hero, and although I’ve moved on to a different kind of hero for my follow-up novel, Magnolia May, he’ll forever own my heart.  

Robin's book list on romance for lovers of broken book boyfriends

Robin Hill Why did Robin love this book?

Oh, Noah. Noah, Noah, Noah. Ask any old-school Emma Scott fan their favorite tortured hero of hers, and their answer will likely be Noah Lake. This one is broken emotionally and physically, which makes it hard to hold a grudge when he lashes out. Not that I even had a grudge to begin with. I mean, think of what he’s suffered! One of the best parts of the angry tortured hero trope is all that delicious groveling, but with Noah, I didn’t need much. (Alright, fine. I didn’t need any.) FYI, Rush is a standalone that’s only connected to the other books in the series by its city setting.

By Emma Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rush as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To be blind is not miserable; not to be able to bear blindness, that is miserable. --John Milton

Charlotte Conroy, Juilliard-trained violinist, was on the cusp of greatness when tragedy swooped down on dark wings, crushing her hopes and breaking her heart. The music that used to sing in her soul has grown quiet, and she feels on the verge of setting down her violin for good. To pay the bills, she accepts a job as a personal assistant to a bitter, angry young man who’s been disabled by a horrific accident…

Noah Lake was an extreme sport athlete, journalist…