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Before Music Where Instruments Come From

Before Music

Where Instruments Come From


Price: $24.99

  • Additional formats:
  • Publication Date: June 21, 2022
  • Imprint: Abrams Books for Young Readers
  • Trim Size: 10 x 14 12
  • ISBN: 9781419745553
  • Page Count: 88
  • Illustrations: Full-color illustrations throughout
  • Rights: World/All

From award-winning author Annette Bay Pimentel comes an oversize nonfiction picture book exploring how music and musical instruments are made—across time and around the world

Music doesn’t come out of nothing.
It always starts somewhere . . .
with something . . .
with someone.

Discover how music is made in this survey of musical instruments from around the world. Organized by material—from wood to gourds to found objects and more—Before Music marries a lyrical core text with tons of informational material for curious readers.

In the narrative text, readers will encounter makers as they source their materials and craft instruments by hand, drawing the line from the natural world to the finished product and its sound. The sidebars offer much more to discover, including extensive instrument lists, short bios of musical innovators, and more.


"Centering creators and musicians of varying age, skin tone, and traditional dress, Safer’s naïf-style multimedia art gives fitting nod to folk traditions featured in this wide-ranging survey of musical instruments that spans centuries, continents, and cultures." 
Publishers Weekly
"Delivered in a whimsical tone that features poetic devices, such as onomatopoeia, alliteration, and word repetition. The impressive watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil illustrations are reminiscent of primitive folk art and complement the book’s content perfectly." 
School Library Journal
"In this richly illustrated and engaging exploration of the origins of musical instruments, each section focuses on a specific material, such as rocks, clay, gourds, silk or strings, and even human voices." 
The Horn Book Magazine

About the author

Annette Bay Pimentel is the author of several nonfiction picture books, including All the Way to the Top, which received a Schneider Family Book Award honor; and Girl Running, which was a Junior Library Guild pick and received a starred review; and our own forthcoming Pura’s Cuentos. She lives in Moscow, Idaho. Madison Safer (she/her) is a queer illustrator whose work is inspired by Russian folk art, Jewish paper cuttings, quilt patterns, and the quiet woods of New England. She received her bachelor of fine arts in illustration studies from Montserrat College of Art. Before Music is her debut picture book.