March 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Joe’s Violin | SLJ DVD Review

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redstarJoe’s Violin. 26 min. Cinema Guild. 2016. $19.95. ISBN 0781515602.

Gr 4 Up –When New York City radio station WQXR put out a call for donations of instruments for schools, thousands responded. Every instrument has a story, but this documentary follows just one, Joe Feingold’s violin. Raised in Poland, Joe ended up in a Siberian labor camp during World War II, but many in his family died in the Holocaust. While in a displaced-person’s camp as a refugee, he traded cigarettes for a violin that brought back some memories of the music of his youth. This is the violin he donated, which went to a Bronx girls’ school and into the hands of 12-year-old Brianna Perez, the daughter of immigrants. The short film is a pas de deux of Joe’s story, told in his own voice with historical footage and photographs, and Brianna’s opportunity to further enhance her playing. The two stories twist and turn in a gentle rhythm around each other, each to the music of the same strings. The meeting between the two is both tearful and satisfying. Brianna plays a tune with special meaning to Joe, and she and her classmates have an opportunity to get to know a Holocaust survivor. The story is beautifully told and heartwarming. VERDICT This is a tender story of perseverance, hope, and music that will strike a resonant chord in the hearts of viewers. Music teachers should show this to their classes so students can gain a greater understanding of the how music and history can intertwine.–Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary, Federal Way, WA

This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2017 issue.



  1. Virginia Brody says:

    Can I buy the video “Joe’s Violin” from you?
    Virginia Brody

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