Maria Von Trapp whose love of music formed the premise of the classic movie The Sound of Music (Two-Disc 40th Anniversary Special Edition) was truly a remarkable woman who led an extraordinary life. Having lost her mother at a young age, Maria was cared for by a foster mother. Though Maria had a father, he was distant and when he died prematurely, Maria found herself at the mercy of relatives once again, taken in by her foster mother's daughter and husband, a stern man who was a judge. Maria's time with these foster parents was marked by unhappiness and Maria suffered physical abuse at the hands of the judge (for imagined transgressions). Eventually, Maria rebelled and left the judge's home, and enrolled in a Teacher's Training College. Then, a unique experience whilst hiking the mountains convinced Maria that her true calling was to serve God and she joined an abbey. Maria's love for teaching and music is described at length here, though she is later sent away to serve as governess to Baron Von Trapp's ailing daughter, one of seven children. Maria wins the affections of the children and after some time, marries the Baron.
The book also describes the Nazi occupation of Austria and how this serves as a catalyst that changes the lives of the Von Trapp family. The family eventually make their way to America and use their musical talents (nurtured by Maria) as a means to earn a living. Maria Von Trapp was a woman of remarkable talents - a musical performer, an entrepreneur, a writer, and above all, a devoted mother and wife. She is truly an inspiration! This biography is appropriate for children in the upper elementary levels and up.