The Strenuous Life of Scott Joplin

Order from

Scott Joplin, composer of “The Entertainer” and “The Maple Leaf Rag,” was the King of Ragtime. Yet, when he died in 1917 at about age 49, he was nearly forgotten. His remarkable biography is told in the style of a graphic novel, with colorful storyboards filled with facts, fun, and links to bonus materials.

Scott Joplin perfected ragtime music and raised it to a true art form. A man of his time, yet clearly hindered by it, his strenuous life unfolded with joy and sorrow, success and failure. Discover facts and trivia about his bestseller, “The Maple Leaf Rag.” See how his music was influenced by politics and the world around him, including the surprising story of a train crash that went very, very wrong. Experience the Joplin story even more with the included links to a wide range of online bonus resources. Through songs and stories, young adult and adult readers alike will enjoy getting to know the King of Ragtime, the remarkable composer, Scott Joplin.

Related: “The Strenuous Life of Scott Joplin Companion Activity Book” (this is pretty cool, too)


Maestro Heights founder and author Gail Masinda’s The Strenuous Life of Scott Joplin is the most important educational work on a composer who has been badly underrepresented. The work is a romp that students will enjoy. It utilizes the best principles of instructional technology in combining visual, audio, online resources, and frequent activities that make it fun for students and adults as well. The Regional Music Heritage Center in Texarkana is proud to have provided fact checking from the latest research. We have partnered to provide programming services for an additional educational interactive resource. We look forward to further works from Ms. Masinda. ~David A. Mallette, Director of Operations, Regional Music Heritage Center, Texarkana AR/TX

This delightful book has something for everyone! Masinda interweaves Joplin’s fascinating life story with train wrecks and presidents, ragtime and opera. She neither shies away from the racism that Joplin endured, nor fails to illuminate his important musical successes. In clear prose, with wonderful illustrations, well-told musical history, and uniquely marvelous online resources, Masinda brings this significant and too-often-overlooked artist to life for young and old alike. ~Dr. Stacy A. Cordery, Professor of History, Iowa State University

The remarkable life of Scott Joplin is brought to life by Gail Masinda, who artfully tells Joplin’s story using a backdrop of cultural and historic information, not well known by many. Masinda’s ability to masterfully weave fascinating facts into this book, while highlighting how Joplin’s music was influenced by the era that he lived in, is extraordinary. Who would have believed that the King of Ragtime was into opera? Masinda can delve into the musical heart of Joplin and portray this musical giant as he rightfully deserves to be depicted. This book is a must for children and adults and has a range of interactive activities and resources that enhances learning about Joplin. I have been an avid reader and music lover since childhood. I wish I could have had this amazing book in my hands years ago. You won’t be disappointed. This is a good read that is engaging, educational and entertaining.  ~Stephanie Grimes, Director Disability Services, Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois


All guest appearances and book signings have been canceled due to our world-wide health crisis. We will reschedule the events and are eager to meet you in person!

Leave a Reply