Book Review | The Mysteries of Beethoven’s Hair
by Russell Martin and Lydia Nibley

Score: 4

This wonderful book is both an interesting biography of Ludwig van Beethoven and an intriguing and engaging account of what happened to a lock of his hair that was removed from his head shortly after he died.  One might ask, is this a Jewish book? Actually, the Jewish content is probably the most intriguing part of this book, because as it turns out, the individual who cut this particular lock of Beethoven’s hair was a young Jewish composer and musician, Ferdinand Hiller.

The mysteries that unfold upon reading this story are incredible. One is the journey of the lock of hair itself. How did it manage to find its way from Beethoven’s head, through three generations of the Hiller family, survive the Holocaust, wind up in Denmark as part of the Danish rescue of the Jews and turn up at an auction of Beethoven memorabilia?

Readers will find many important Jewish values stressed in this book as well, among them, honoring the dead and the importance of returning possessions to their rightful owner. In addition, outstanding illustrations and photographs add to the story’s appeal and fascination. At the back of the book, the authors provide excellent information to young writers regarding how to write a book like this one.

I highly recommend this book to all Jewish libraries.

Grade Range:
4th-8th grade

This book is for OLDER  Readers.

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