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.