Say It with Music

A Story about Irving Berlin

From the Series Creative Minds Biographies

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 - Grade 8
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

As a boy, Israel Baline had to work after school to help his poor immigrant family. He sold newspapers on street corners to help his family survive. He loved to sing to pass the time, and sometimes listeners tossed an extra penny or two at his feet. No one who heard him could have guessed that he would someday become known as Irving Berlin, the best-loved songwriter in the land. The composer of “God Bless America,” “White Christmas,” and many other well-known tunes began his musical career on the streets and in the seedy cafes of New York City’s Lower East Side. Author Tom Streissguth tells Berlin’s remarkable story in lively prose that captures the spirit of the long-gone days of ragtime, vaudeville, and Broadway glory.

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Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 8
Reading Level Grade 5
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Publication Date 2011-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 5.5
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS JNF007040, JNF007020
Dewey 782.1'4'092
Graphics 1-color illustrations
Lexile 870
Guided Reading Level S
ATOS Reading Level 5.8
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 49556
Accelerated Reader® Points 1.0
Features Afterword, Author/Illustrator note, Bibliography/further reading, Index, Reviewed, Table of contents, and Teaching Guides

Author: Tom Streissguth

Illustrator: Jennifer Hagerman

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Creative Minds Biographies

Meet some of the world’s most creative minds! Written in story format, these episodic biographies give clear, straightforward accounts of historical figures’ lives. Each true story is accompanied by black-and-white illustrations. View available downloads →



“A good concise biography accessible to many children.”

School Library Journal

“. . .vividly written. . . It’s intriguing story and one that Streissguth makes readable and enjoyable.”
School Library Journal