Books About Music For Kids

books about music for kidsMusic is so much more than entertainment. The connection between music lessons and better performance on IQ tests has been accepted for a long time in the education world. My focus is not on boosting my kids IQ by 7 points so much as offering them rich and diverse experiences with hopes that something will strike their fancy and turn into a passion or pastime. Learning to play an instrument takes dedication and for me that alone is a wonderful take away. Books are a great place to start exploring different instruments with very young kids from the comfort of your own home. If you live in an area with a symphony check to see when they might have child friendly performances and workshops to see the instruments in action.

Here are 15 books about music for kids to check out at your house. The book title will take you to Amazon.com via an affiliate link.

Tuba Lessons by T.C. Bartlett is a book about a little boy walking to his tuba lesson and all the things he encounters along the way. The book has very limited text but tells a sweet story perfectly  without it. Younger children will need a parent to help spark the story with questions about what’s happening but even my 2 year old clued into the music notes getting bigger when there was a louder sound and smaller when it was quiet. Grab it and see what I am talking about.

This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt is my new favorite book. The book updates the classic children’s song “This Old Man” and inserts all different men in a jazz band, however at the end of the book it explains that each jazz man is actually a real person including Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and more! I love the bios at the end of the book because I want to learn more about jazz too. OK back to the book, the book itself is a counting book,and my son eats it up, he loves calling out the number and instrument as I read the rhyme. He has had me read it countless times today and I haven’t minded one bit,the pictures by R.G. Roth are adorable, and all in all I just love this book!

I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello by Barbara S. Garriel was an instant favorite with my son. The text is a reworked version of “An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly” but this guy has a hankering for musical instruments. My son giggled through the book, and was very adamant that no one could swallow a harp but this fellow did ! I liked this book because it’s a fun and absurd, as well as educational. If your wee one is as into instruments as mine, you have to read this book.

 

Meet the Orchestra by Ann Hayes is a good resource for teaching about musical instruments. The book goes through many instruments found in an orchestra with a sizable description for each. Animals are used for the musicians and my son thought that was funny and actually learned a bit about them as well. It was really too long for us to sit and read cover to cover but it’s easy to break up and read one or two instruments at a time if it’s too much for your child in one sitting. Also there is some figurative language that young kids will not get at all. Helpful for teaching but I don’t expect it to become a favorite to snuggle up with.

Edited: This has been the bedtime book of choice for over two weeks now, I take back my comment about it not being one to snuggle up with!

Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel Isadora is a simple but profound book about one little boy’s dreams. Ben loves jazz, his favorite is the trumpet and he spends much time alone playing his imaginary trumpet and listening at the door of a local jazz club. When other kids make fun of his imaginary trumpet he stops playing, that is until the trumpeter himself steps in. I like this book and as a mom of a little boy who plays an imaginary trumpet often I love that it gave him something to relate to and confirm that dreaming and imagining is good for the soul.

Music over Manhattan by Mark Karlins was longer than I expected but when I read it to my very overtired , no nap today 2 year old he happily listened and pointed out the instruments, and sky scrappers. The story is about a little boy who is overshadowed by his high achieving and nauseating cousin. A musician uncle plants the love of music in him and he strives to become as good as his uncle who floats in the air when he plays. Something I loved about this book was that the little boy works very hard, he practices all the time ,and slowly gets better. He had talent to start with but still had to work hard to achieve his goal. A great lesson for all children.

punk farm

Punk Farm by Jarrett J. Krosoczka . I wanted to love this book but it was just meh. I like the idea for it very much and some of the details were hilarious like horse acting as a bouncer for the punk show but the meat of the book just didn’t do it for me. Most of the book is a variation of Old MacDonald with different instrument sounds and by the second animal I was so over singing this song, maybe I just don’t like that song… I have been teased with it most of my life.  My kids liked the book and we all loved the illustrations.

m is for music

by Kathleen Krull is a wonderful book, however it’s style and illustrations by Stacy Innerst while funky aren’t as literal as I had hoped. This isn’t an issue for older children at all, and I really enjoyed the book but the nuanced illustrations were just too hard for a toddler to make the connections . My son still liked many of the pages especially the G is for guitar one. I would use this book for teaching about music more so than as an alphabet book teaching letters.

Mole Music

Mole Music by David McPhail is a beautiful book about the power of music, trying hard ,and not giving up on your dreams.  The story is about a mole who sees a violin on TV one day and decides to get his own and play. He is terrible at first but sticks with it. His music becomes beautiful, and over the years he thinks only he can hear and enjoy it. In reality his music is nourishing a grand tree above the ground that serves roles in great things including as a mediator in a battle where both sides end up coming to a peaceful agreement instead of warfare. Now yes I think that one little mole’s music ending a war is a rather large statement but if you break it down, music and the arts are vital and do transform people’s lives the way they transformed Mole’s.  My favorite part is in one illustration Mole is playing and in another tunnel you can see his old TV discarded and tipped over, I like that message.

Sunny

Sunny by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman  is a great book about finding sounds all around and making music with anything and everything you find. Sunny hears music from the animals around town, the vehicles and of course his friends playing at the playground.  My son loved when they had a “Hootenanny” and everyone makes music in their own way. This book reminded me of the Broadway show “Stomp” from the 90s, and is a great lesson for kids about how accessible making music really is.

zin zin zin a violin

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss is a big hit at our house and if you have a child into music or musical instruments this is a great book. You count the instruments as they come on stage for a performance and not only is this a great counting book, but it introduces musical instruments with it’s rhyming text and super fun pictures. I am biased though my little man is really really into instruments and loves this book. The day we bought it I had to sit in the backseat with him on the way home from the bookstore because he couldn’t wait to read it .

max-found-two-sticks

Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney is a great book for any kid that likes to drums or stick, or drum sticks. So that pretty much means all kids. Max isn’t a talker but he can express all sorts of things by thumping and banging the sticks he finds on different things. I like how he imitates the changing sounds in his environment and my son loved the marching band . Great tool for teaching about sounds, music ,and self expression.

moose music

Moose Music by Sue Porter is a goofy book about how what might sound like a racket to you, may indeed be music to other ears. Moose finds a violin in the mid and picks it up, and plays it. The sound is not music to the animals and people in the forest. They get angry, they threaten to chase him, and he doesn’t stick around. He doesn’t stop playing though he plays with all his heart and finally someone appreciates it. My son thought this book was hilarious . It’s a cute lesson about following your heart even in the face of adversity.

Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane by Carol Boston Weatherford is a fascinating book for my son who discovered “Johnny Coltrane” on YouTube while asking me about saxophones a year ago. What I like about this book is that it allows young children to relate to someone so inaccessible, and untouchable like John Coltrane. My son immediately grabbed onto the idea that is explained in the book that all the sounds and music Coltrane heard as a child turned into music he played later on. Later that day we got into a deep and very long winded “Is that music Mama?” conversation and I wasn’t always sure what to say. I wasn’t expecting to get stumped by his questions so soon. Either way when a book sparks questions like that it’s a keeper!

jazz baby

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler had my son clapping and be bopping in his jammies before bed. This book is so fun to read, the musical words are impossible not to dance to. My son loves jazz, and his only disappointment was that there were no trumpets in the book. He didn’t understand that the family in the book , which included grandparents, aunts , uncles and cousins were listening to a record. I tried to tell him it was like a cd but the illustration was clearly a record player and he wasn’t buying it. Still we loved this book , the family was loving and I loved that the older brother was holding the baby, not common in kids books to see a boy holding a baby. Great book even without a trumpet.

Music & Math Activity

This was a fast easy activity I wanted to do to work on my son’s one to one correspondence but using a theme he is head over heels for . This also allowed me to work on the concept of zero.  Since doing this we have been noticing that there are “zero” dinosaurs in the backyard, “zero” boys eating their broccoli at lunch and “zero” children napping! I love it when I stumble on a concept that is new to him and we can work on it in a fun way.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 sheets of paper , some yarn, a marker, scissors and glue.
  2. Start by drawing the outline of a guitar on your brown paper . Don’t get hung up on it being perfect, as long as your child can tell it’s a guitar – you are fine!
  3. Cut out. You could also do this whole activity just with paper as a work sheet, but I find that even though the difference isn’t great to us between using a pen or the yarn , I think it is for children. Manipulating the objects really creates an experience.
  4. Next add the details and numbers .
  5. Cut your yarn into short pieces for the strings.
  6. Time to glue! This is the step my son joined me at. Depending on your child’s interest and age you could have them join in whenever. Glue the guitars on.
  7. Identify the numbers and add that many pieces of yarn.

Songs!

I posted this on my facebook page ) but if you missed it. All my song videos that were originally on my blogger site are frozen so you can see them all here !

Book

Sunny by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman  is a great book about finding sounds all around and making music with anything and everything you find. Sunny hears music from the animals around town, the vehicles and of course his friends playing at the playground.  My son loved when they had a “Hootenanny” and everyone together makes music in their own way. This book reminded me of the broadway show “Stomp” from the 90s, and is a great lesson for kids about how accessible making music really is.

Hands On Music!

Hands on music

One of my biggest goals as a parent isn’t to fit my son into an idea of who I think he should be but to expose him to as many interests, experiences and cultural offerings I can within my budget and capabilities. I would love to take him to Europe to see my favorite paintings, or to hear an opera in Belfast’s ornate opera house … but he is 3, and even if we had that much money to spend on travel instead of student loans and our mortgage the idea of a jet lagged 3 year old scares me. One day he will see it all, I am determined but until then our cultural experiences are a little closer to home. We often go on field trips on Fridays and we rarely spend more than we have to- here was our latest adventure.

  1. Spend some time  searching through your local sights ( zoo, symphony, children’s museums, art museums, aquarium…) websites. Most will have one day a month ( or more) that are free to the public.  To me this is imperative especially the first time you go somewhere like this , because it’s a great time to test out if your child is ready, if the exhibits will hold their attention, basically if it’s a good fit for your family. You can also check their websites for cool programs, we found out that there was a special ( free) story time included with our free admission! Hands on Music
  2. Pack light but effectively. Obviously with only 1 kid I am able to keep it minimalistic these days. Extra pants, extra undies, a camera, snacks, wallet and it all fits in a small purse.It’s easier to chase after a kid with less baggage ! Hands on music
  3. Eat a meal before you go. A full child is a focused child!
  4. Make sure there is time for free exploration – don’t over schedule your time . If they like a specific exhibit go back to it as much as possible , within reason of course. My son loved the instruments, we went back multiple times.  Hands on Music
  5. Encourage your child to take advantage of anything special – one of the educators took out a trombone to play with and at first my son was shy but with gentle coaxing was playing and talked about this more than anything on the way home. Hands on Music
  6. As I said before take advantage of the special programs, this was music story time where we sang, played drums and listened to a story . Hands on Music
  7. After a big day out nothing is a better than crashing in your car seat on the way home . Hands on music
  8. When you are home keep the learning going with books, printing out pictures and going over what you did and what you learned!

Books

Mole Music

Mole Music by David McPhail is a beautiful book about the power of music, trying hard and not giving up on your dreams.  The story is about a mole who sees a violin on TV one day and decides to get his own and play. He is terrible at first but sticks with it. His music becomes beautiful, and over the years he thinks only he can hear and enjoy it. In reality his music is nourishing a grand tree above the ground that serves roles in great things including as a mediator in a battle where both sides end up coming to a peaceful agreement instead of warfare. Now yes I think that one little mole’s music ending a war is a rather large statement but if you break it down, music and the arts are vital and do transform people’s lives the way they transformed Mole’s.  My favorite part is in one illustration Mole is playing anf in another tunnel you can see his old TV discarded and tipped over, I like that message.

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss is a big hit at our house and if you have a child into music or musical instruments this is a great book. You count the instruments as they come on stage for a performance and not only is this a great counting book, but it introduced musical instruments in it’s rhyming text and super fun pictures. I am biased though my little man is really really into instruments and loves this book. The day we bought it I had to sit in the back with him on the way home from the bookstore because he couldn’t wait to read it

Moose Music by Sue Porter

Moose Music by Sue Porter is a goofy book about how what might sound like a racket to you, may indeed be music to other ears. Moose finds a violin in the mid and picks it up, and plays it. The sound is not music to the animals and people in the forest. They get angry, they threaten to chase him, and he doesn’t stick around. He doesn’t stop playing though he plays with all his heart and finally someone appreciates it. A lady moose , as you may have guessed it they fall in love and live happily ever after. My son thought this book was hilarious . It’s a cute lesson about following your heart even in the face of adversity.

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Valentine’s Day Craft!

Valentine's Day Craft

It’s a month away! Get your love shaking with this musical Valentine’s day craft.  There is nothing my son loves more than music ( well maybe garbage trucks) and any craft that can be used for something besides decorating your fridge is a huge plus in my book.  The novelty of the peek a boo window made this an even bigger hit!  Have fun, shake it and make some music !

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 paper plates, red paint, a sponge brush or roller ( helps the paint dry faster so you can play with it faster too!), some jingle bells, some pom poms , a zip lock bag, packing tape or a stapler, scissors and glitter glue.Valentine's Day Craft
  2. Start by drawing a heart on the inside of one plate.Valentine's Day Craft
  3. Paint the outsides of both plates.Valentine's Day Craft
  4. Add glitter if you want!Valentine's Day Craft
  5. Let dry. We patted ours dry with a paper towel so we could keep going.
  6. Cut zip lock so that one layer covers the heart opening. Tape well.Valentine's Day Craft
  7. Pop the pom poms and jingle bells in the plate. Valentine's Day Craft
  8. Tape the top to the bottom. We used packing tape because I can’t find my stapler . If you are stapling it make sure that the staples are close together so that no jingle bells fall out. * Also if you have young ones that are  still popping little things in their mouths try ripped pieces of paper instead of pom poms, and dry rice! Valentine's Day Craft

Books

Valentine's Day by Anne Rockwell

Valentine’s Day by Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell is a lovely book with a a cute twist. The story follows a class making special valentines for each other , some are very touching others goofy. The story doesn’t reveal who the Valentine’s are for. There are pictures of the same girl with the various students though so after a while you are clued into that they are for her we still don’t know why. I was so worried she was sick in the hospital, as it turns out the class goes to the post office to send it away to a classmate that is far far away! I like the idea of a class all writing to a friend far away, focusing on friendship and not candy! I also love any book that causes my son to say ” Let’s go see a map of where she lives mama!”

happy-valentines-day-dolores

Happy Valentine’s Day, Dolores by Barbara Samuels is hilarious. If you are a younger sister, or older sister you will relate to this book. My son didn’t really get it but loved the illustrations especially the one of Dolores in music class. Here is the run down of the story; Dolores snoops in her older sister’s room. They fight about it and she stops, until she can’t take it anymore. Before Valentine’s Day she sneaks in and finds a necklace in her sister’s drawer.  She ends up wearing it and loosing it and going to hilarious lengths to get a new one before her sister notices it’s gone.  I applaud the author for having her fake a veterinary emergency with ketchup! Very funny , cute book but geared more to the 4-6 year old group.

I lost my Kisses

I Lost My Kisses by Trudie Trewin is cute story about a little cow who has lost her kisses! She looks everywhere for them, gives wonderful descriptions of what kisses are, sound and feel like but she just can’t find them. The thing is , is that she is picking her daddy up at the airport and has to give him a kiss when he arrives! Luckily her heart find them when she sees her daddy.  My son loved this book, he is an affectionate kid and loves to tease us that he is “all out of kisses” so this book was right up his alley! Very cute and I love the mostly black and white illustrations by Nick Bland.

DIY Music Stand

DIY recycled music stand

I know this isn’t going to be the most popular post we have ever posted, but my son is into music. He is also into music stands and every where we go he finds one. At restaurants the “Please wait to be seated” sign is one, at parks the little signs that tell you about the plants become ones and on the airplane his tray table became one too. So it shouldn’t have been such a shock when he said he wanted to make one for a project. Well I never say no to a challenge!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a wrapping paper roll , a shoe box , decorations ( we used stickers) , scissors and a lot of packing tape.DIY recycled music stand
  2. Start by having your wee one add stickers to the roll for decoration, you can also paint or color it too! Can you tell he just got up from a nap? DIY recycled music stand
  3. Cut the top off the shoe box. Keep both pieces.DIY recycled music stand
  4. Make a slit on either side of one end of the roll about 2-3 inches long.DIY recycled music stand
  5. Bend one side down to make a lip. Tape the top of the shoe box on . Use a lot of tape!DIY recycled music stand
  6. Cut 4 slits on the other end about the same length to make an X shape.DIY recycled music stand
  7. Have your helper hold the tube to the bottom of the  box. This picture took almost as long to take as the stand took to make.DIY recycled music stand
  8. Tape it down.DIY recycled music stand
  9. It’s done and leaning only a little to the right.DIY recycled music stand

Books

Mole Music

Mole Music by David McPhail is a beautiful book about the power of music, trying hard and not giving up on your dreams.  The story is about a mole who sees a violin on TV one day and decides to get his own and play. He is terrible at first but sticks with it. His music becomes beautiful, and over the years he thinks only he can hear and enjoy it. In reality his music is nourishing a grand tree above the ground that serves roles in great things including as a mediator in a battle where both sides end up coming to a peaceful agreement instead of warfare. Now yes I think that one little mole’s music ending a war is a rather large statement but if you break it down, music and the arts are vital and do transform people’s lives the way they transformed Mole’s.  My favorite part is in one illustration Mole is playing anf in another tunnel you can see his old TV discarded and tipped over, I like that message.

Sunny

Sunny by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman  is a great book about finding sounds all around and making music with anything and everything you find. Sunny hears music from the animals around town, the vehicles and of course his friends playing at the playground.  My son loved when they had a “Hootenanny” and everyone together makes music in their own way. This book reminded me of the broadway show “Stomp” from the 90s, and is a great lesson for kids about how accessible making music really is.

Moose Music by Sue Porter

Moose Music by Sue Porter is a goofy book about how what might sound like a racket to you, may indeed be music to other ears. Moose finds a violin in the mid and picks it up, and plays it. The sound is not music to the animals and people in the forrest. They get angry, they threaten to chase him, and he doesn’t stick around. He doesn’t stop playing thoughm he plays with all his heart and finally someone appreciates it. A lady moose , as you may have guessed it they fall in love and live happily ever after. My son thought this book was hilarious . It’s a cute lesson about following your heart even in the face of adversity.