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I, Vivaldi
by Janice Shefelman
Illustrated by Tom Shefelman
Kids' Wings Award for Outstanding Literature

"Antonio, you are not the kind of priest I thought you would be, but you are surely making music for God."

"Without the provision of a violin, even the potentially most gifted violinist will not become a violinist.” Feldman (1986)

The year was 1678 when Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born in Venice, Italy. What do you think his mother and father did when they realized he could not breathe and might die? Take him to the emergency room? No, there were no emergency rooms. Give him CPR? No, no one knew about CPR in 1678. Pray? Yes, and his mother made a vow to God that Antonio would become a priest if God would let her baby boy live.

Well, Antonio lived, but he couldn't run and play like the other kids, so his father taught him to play the violin. Antonio LOVED the violin and, when he was older, HE made a vow to God that he would play the violin. But what about his mother's promise to God? Would he break her promise? Would he have to break his vow?

I, Vivaldi is told from the point of view of the composer, himself. He tells of being a sickly child with a gift for music. He writes of his becoming a dedicated man who worked to develop his gift and composed uniquely beautiful music that is celebrated today! But, did he break his mother's vow?

Listen! Can you can hear his most famous piece of music playing in the background? Do you know the name of it? It is Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons." Now you can read his story as you listen!


To prepare for writing this book, the Shefelmans did action research! The author took violin lessons. They visited Vivaldi's childhood home in Venice where Tom played kickball with neighborhood kids. They rode in gondolas, walked in the city, sat in Venice cafes in the Piazza San Marco, and stood in awe of the great church. Together they attended concerts in the chapel where Vivaldi taught orphan girls to play the violin. Celebrated illustrator Tom Shefelman brings the story alive with beautiful ink line and watercolor paintings inspired by 18th century Italian painters. "While working, I listened to Vivaldi's music and heard water lapping against the walls, the rhythm of gondoliers rowing, and caged birds singing. I felt as if I were in Venice with Vivaldi."


I, Vivaldi

Research Links
I, Vivaldi by Janice Shefelman

The Shefelmans' Website
Listen to Vivaldi's Music
Vivaldi Biography
Four Seasons Teachers Resource Kit

A Gifted Child-artist
*****Tribute to Illustrator Tom Shefelman*****

Available from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Classical Music Connections

Classical Music for Kids
Vivaldi-The Four Seasons "Spring"

Literary Connection
A Paradise Called Texas by Janice Shefelman

50-page Kids Wings Unit available! Click Here to Order the Unit


I, Vivaldi

A 17-page unit for I, Vivaldi is a valuable addition to every classical classroom!

The Unit Contains:
Discussion Cards
Readers’ Theater Introduction
Anticipation Guide
Map Study: Where is Venice and Italy's Neighbors
Vocabulary in the Story
Multiple-Choice Comprehension Questions
Crossword Puzzle
Music in Everyday Life Research Project
Cause and Effect
Another Musician Research Report
Classical Musicians Logic Puzzle
Vivaldi's Gifts, My Gifts
Vivaldi's Four Seasons in Words and Pictures
The Four Seasons in Poetry
Vivaldi's Poetry
Answer Page



I, Vivaldi is included in the Kids Wings Gifts and Givers collection of literature guides for award-winning novels and intermediate-level picture books. This collection comes in a spiral-bound book with CD and site license for one school. The Gifts and Givers package includes 24 literature guides for award-winning books, over 500 pages of activities, 7 Jeopardy-type games, and 9 Karoke-type songs You can purchase a literature guide individually for around $18.95, but if you order Gifts and Givers, you can get 24 literature guides on sale, for about $1.00 each! This is one of the best bargains in the USA, while quantities last!


Background Music: The Four Seasons by Vivaldi


I, Vivaldi NOW!

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