The Book as Mentor


If we dig deep enough into the heart of a story, dig to its very core, I believe we will always spark curiosity. And when we press into that curiosity, we often discover a treasure to inform our own life. A good mentor leads us by the hand on an exploration of discovery that will make us a richer person.

As I am passing out the books and discovery guides, I introduce them to the story, “Allegra Leah Shapiro has been selected as a finalist in a prestigious violin competition and this stirs up all sorts of inner conflict.” 

Why does summer have to be so hectic? 

What does it mean to be half Jewish and half gentile? 

Why is soprano, Diedre, crying?

How can I be a twelve-year-old a violinist and have time to be a friend?

Why is my brother so annoying?

How has Mr. Trouble lost his song?

What is this gift from Bubbe Raisa?

And what of this great-grandmother I’ve been named after?

Will I be able to dig deep enough for Mozart?

Can I undo what has been done?

The Mozart Season,” I tell them, “is a quiet story, one filled with resounding music that just might change your life.” I leave it there, hand them the book and tell them I am looking forward to what will unfold.

Five months later, I gather my group together to congratulate our writing and visual art students who were recognized regionally by Scholastic Alliance for Young Artists & Writers this year, plus two high school students who had work published in an international online literary journal.          

As I am handing out the awards, it dawns on me that four of the award winning projects began with the writers and artists responding to The Mozart Season and blossomed into something imaginatively original.

A great book can be a mentor.

Here you can view a short film inspired by the book as well as a beautiful piece of writing by a 6th grade student.


Gurgle gurgle, trickle trickle, swish swish swish, everything is music. The bubbling fountain sings a heart shattering song while the wind hums a chilling melody. Rain jolts in, dancing on its stony stage.  He stares into the shame of another day, where bold shapes of towering buildings blot out the rising sun. Glass windows taunt the morning dew. The dense noise of honking horns and blaring radios submerge as the day grows old, life in the city. It’s all a blur–work, school, play, eat, sleep–never ending cycle. Those who can’t keep up are thrown to the side. There are no second chances in the city. Money is what matters, money money money. Without money you can’t survive, no need for creativity in the city. So he has no purpose, The man, his music, and a violin.

ead the entire story by clickng here: Download The Green Violinist

Want to inspire your students to dig deeper? Consider exploring The Mozart Season (grades 5-8) using our Blackbird & Company Literature Discovery Guide.