The cover to Golden Boy: Beethoven's Youth by Mikael Ross. The cover features the title and author's name against a cream background. Above the text is an illustration of a Beethoven, a young boy with red hair dressed in brown clothes appropriate to the time period, playing furiously at the piano. Artistic swirls and scales erupt from the piano's lid.
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Mikael Ross, Translator: Nika Knight

Golden Boy: Beethoven's Youth

On sale date: June 7, 2022

Ludwig van Beethoven created music that moves and inspires us to this day; his very name sparks a melody in the ear. But are you born a genius? This graphic biography asks: "Who was Beethoven before he became 'Beethoven?'"
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Master cartoonist Mikael Ross (The Thud) tells the story of Beethoven from 1778 to his first major public appearance in Vienna in 1795. It begins when the family is living a difficult life in Bonn. Father Johann battles with alcoholism and is deep in debt. Only young Ludwig and his talent at the piano offer any hope for the future — if only he would stop composing his own pieces and just play what's expected of him.

Author Ross was asked to do a small comic for the Beethoven Society. Through this opportunity, he discovered the diaries of the baker's son that lived downstairs from Beethoven's family, the content of which inspired Golden Boy. As in his previous book, The Thud, Ross skillfully mixes humor with empathy and pure social drama, crafting a coming-of-age story that transcends its biographical subject matter. His colorful, expressive style and mastery of the language of comics are perfectly suited to the tall task of capturing Beethoven's timeless music visually.


"A fast and furious contemporary take on the upbringing of a tortured genius." — Publishers Weekly

"The lively artwork has an exaggerated and colorful style, and the expressive scenes depicting Beethoven's music are a wonderfully chaotic representation of the composing process." — Booklist

"Artfully complex and lovingly rendered — an eminently re-readable story of a person and a place." — Solrad

"The childhood of Beethoven comes to vivid life in Golden Boy. ... Any fan of classical music will discover a new appreciation for comics." — Broadway Direct


8.3" × 10.9"