Today’s book list is a list of 8 books about music. Music is an integral part of our lives and kids love seeing and hearing the different instruments that we have.
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 effectually 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 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. The musicians are animals, which my son thought was funny. However, he actually learned a bit about them as well. Too long for us to sit and read cover to cover, it is easy to break up into sections. You can 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 the talent to start with but still had to work hard to achieve his goal. A great lesson for all children.
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. Not only is this a great counting book, but it introduced musical instruments in its rhyming text and super fun pictures. 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.
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 grabbed onto the idea explained in the book. That all the sounds and music Coltrane heard as a child turned into the 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 didn’t expect to get stumped by his questions so soon. Either way when a book sparks questions like that it’s a keeper!
Have you read these books about music? Would you add any to this list? Comment below or share on my Facebook page! Find more great book lists here on the site, as well!
For more quick tips on helping your child learn to read check out my book; Raising A Rock-Star Reader. It is packed with fun ideas for families, book lists, and advice for parents.
What a great selection of books – I’ll certainly be on the look out for quite a few of them. One of our favourites about music is Here Comes Frankie by Tim Hopgood.
I’m a band director, and my mother-in-law is a school librarian. My son will certainly be getting some of these books for Christmas! Thanks for sharing!
Jennifer McIntyre @atthebluebarn says
Love seeing your book selection – and so timely – with all of the music the kids hear this time of year. . you can play guessing games about each instrument in the different renditions of “Jingle Bells”
Thanks! My 2 1/2 yo has been really intersted in violns since seeing Elmo’s World about violins 3-4 months ago. She wants one for the holidays! Ack! She’s not wild about Zin! Zin! Zin! to be honest though she is a big reader. I appreciate the list of others to look into!
Gia Saulnier says
I wrote a picture book about jazz called Journey to Jazzland. Let me know if you want more information. It was published in 2013.