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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  2,142 ratings  ·  401 reviews
Mo Willems, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, composes a powerful symphony of chance, discovery, persistence, and magic in this moving tale of a young girl's journey to center stage. Illustrator Amber Ren brings Willems' music to life, conducting a stunning picture-book debut.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Hyperion Books for Children
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Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,142 ratings  ·  401 reviews

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I knew Mo Willems wrote good books, but they can also be beautiful. I love this book so much. It is dear to me. I think any person who has heard a piece of music and loved it so much that it changed your life in that moment and your life was set on a creative path will understand this story. It is fantastic. I hope it gets the Caldecott. It has my vote.

We start with how Brahms was influenced by Beethoven to write beautiful music. Musicians practiced long and with care to be able to play the
Jillian Heise
Because I played cello, I was drawn to this cover. Because it is beautifully told & illustrated, I was enthralled by it. Because it's a story about inspiration & passion, I want to share it.
David Schaafsma
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
My family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books every year. This is book #8 (of more than 20) of 2019, and we, except for the newly curmudgeon Hank, thought it was one of the better ones, maybe in the top three. Mo Willems has written more than 50 picture books, and his illustrator Amber Ren has done one, this one. It's about creativity, the arts, focused on how a girl decides to become a musician. Ren links her own decision to becoming an artist to the moment she saw a pithing ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Because a young girl sat in her sick uncle's seat, she heard the beautiful music performed by an orchestra leading to an adoration for music and the creation of a musical life. Gave me chills.
Bonus star for mentioning the orchestra's librarian.

Gorgeous story about all the pieces that happen behind the scenes for beautiful music to happen now and in the future.
Cindy Dobrez
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Because a 4th grader was ahead in her work and because an elementary school librarian gave her jobs and because the girl had a hard time choosing between many subjects she loved, she became a librarian so she could dabble in them all. And over time, because she worked very hard, and she was lucky, she was chosen to serve on award committees and to review and blog for Booklist magazine. Because of that, books like Because (Hyperion, 2019) by Mo Willems and Amber Ren arrive on her doorstep waiting ...more
Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile-easy
What the fuck I read this to my daughter and couldn't even read the last two pages out loud bc I started sobbing . This is either a really beautiful book or my preggo hormones are coursing strong. ...more
Sophia Triad
Mar 05, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: children
Favourite author. New book.
Note to myself: BUY!
This awesome picture book uses the story of a life-changing opportunity for a young girl to attend a classical music performance to show that nothing in this world happens in isolation, and that chains of events lead to all sorts of circumstances and opportunities for us all. The books starts with a composer creating music hundreds of years ago, to the formation of the orchestra group, to the music being learned and practices and so on. When an uncle gets a cold, and a little girl gets to attend ...more
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture
I read this book BECAUSE Mo Willems wrote it. I like this book very much BECAUSE it is inspiring to see how events and people can influence anyone & everything.

I like the endpapers BECAUSE they are sheet music and you don’t usually see that in a picture book.

There is a hidden book cover under the book jacket and I love when that happens BECAUSE it’s fun and every picture book should have them.

I think everyone should read this BECAUSE it’s great!
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Because I read this book I cried my eyes out
Beautiful book about inspiration. I loved that Willems included the practice (and luck) that goes along with accomplishment as well as the participation of many people working together to create an experience. Amber Ren's illustrations of the thread of music flowing through and then exploding into an impressive blast of sound are particularly effective. What a lovely book.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Because Mo Willems is my favorite kid-lit author, I ordered this book. Because I ordered it, I read it. Because I loved it, I read it to my class. Because my class and I read it, we had the most wonderful discussion— we talked about how small things lead to big things, and how everyone plays a part in everyone’s story. This book is wonderfully written and illustrated, life-changing and beautiful.
Kent District Library
“This is a picture book that brought back lot of memories of my dad. Because he loved classic music, my life was filled with beautiful sound. I didn’t get to be a real musician like the girl in this book, but I could tell what music is on the inside cover of the book by just reading the score.” – Yuko at KDL’s Service Center
Laura Harrison
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Love this one. Really interesting subject matter and beautifully rendered. Possible Caldecott 2020 contender.
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, crying
Didn't get choked up at ALL. Nope. Not one bit... just a little dust in my eye...
Alice Maton
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, inspiration
Because of everything that has come before, it can be possible to inspire someone else.
This is a story of a little girl who goes to the see an orchestra. It is only because the conductor was inspired by another that he pursued music. Because of the other musicians, workers, train drivers, it was possible for the orchestra to happen. And that is when the girl heard the music that carried her away and encouraged her to pursue music too.
There is a lovely circular narrative to this as the story
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was sweet. I love classical music, so it was great to see that featured in a children's book.
Rod Brown
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it
A way more serious and sincere look at the power of music and art to inspire than I was expecting from Pigeon and Elephant & Piggie creator Mo Willems. Well done!
Kaethe Douglas
Apr 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I kind of like the concept, the art was good, and having the creators as extras was a nice touch. But the book didn't flow very smoothly: both the progression and some of the specifics felt awkward. It was interesting to read about a modern symphony composer, but - it just didn't work for me. And the "Performed by" credit was weird since it suggested that an audio performance was included with the book, which would make sense in a book about a symphony, right?
Maybe I just have too many
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Because I read this book... I am now trying not to cry at the circ desk.

Really beautiful. Both in story and illustrations (or score and performance, as the book will tell you). A great choice for a kid who needs a story of passion and hard work paying off. With a little bit of luck and love along the way. Welcome back, Mo.
Scottsdale Public Library
Not only is this book beautifully rendered in words and pictures, but it uses art to show cause and effect. A perfect symmetry between art and science (STEAM at its finest)... not to mention showing what hard work can accomplish. Simply stunning! – Jennifer K.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a pleasant surprise to pick up Mo Willems' latest and discover a new orchestra book. I love orchestra books!

This does not feel like Willems' other books—it's not funny, for one—but it's worth checking out for sure. A lot of music, a lot of cause and effect, and a little bit of girl power.
Julie Seifert
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was AMAZING. A great book about inspiration, music, how little things can make a difference, and the roles we all play in other's lives.
Kris Dersch
I think I might just be a sap but I loved it.
Nancy Kotkin
Because a kind, knowledgeable creative writing professor took me side and whispered in my ear that I ought to try rewriting my presumably adult novel as a middle grade novel, I studied children's literature and writing. Because I visited my local Barnes & Noble bookstore and recognized the author's name on the front of this picture book, I read it, enjoyed it, and wrote this review. Whatever your endeavors are, many things, some hugely important and some seemingly insignificant, have to line ...more
For the briefest of seconds, I thought this was going to be about Lizzo because it showed a young black girl in the 90s/early 2000s playing the flute, and I was so hyped. But it wasn't. And it was still good. Loved especially the emphasis on including folks from all backgrounds/vocations to emphasize what a community effort does to create beautiful and important things like music.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Our family loved seeing the progressive journey of a young girl who went from being inspired by a musical performance all the way through her hours of practice and years of study to becoming a conductor at a concert hall. Both the author and the illustrator cite the influences that inspired them to write and create. Bonus: sheet music is included at the beginning and end of the book (the ending one is an original piece written specifically for the book). There is also a video available online, ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
An inspiring storybook for music lovers!
First sentence: Because a man named Ludwig wrote beautiful music--a man named Franz was inspired to create his own. Because many years later, people wanted to hear Franz's beautiful music--they formed an orchestra. Because a man had practiced since he was a kid--he was asked to join.

Premise/plot: A young girl's life is changed forever when she attends a symphony. Half the story focuses on the before--the many, many becauses that lead up to that magical moment. Half the story focuses on the
Jordan Henrichs
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not what I was expecting from Mo Willems, but fantastic all the same.
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#1 New York Times Bestselling author and illustrator Mo Willems is best known for his Caldecott Honor winning picture books Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Knuffle Bunny: a cautionary tale.

In addition to such picture books as Leonardo the Terrible Monster, Edwina the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct, and Time to Pee, Mo has created the Elephant and Piggie books, a series of early
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