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Friendship and Music: Books For Kids

Reading about friendship helps us learn how to be a good friend. While friendship can change as we age, it's essence remains the same; friendship is loyalty, fun, communication, support, compassion, and love. Enjoy our list of our favorite books showing the joy, journeys, hardships, and value of friendship! We hope you might even make a few (book) friends along the way.

“Reading for me, is spending time with a friend.” – Gary Pauls

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#1
The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Swan Song Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can't trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can't even make a sound. And since he can't trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena's affection--he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

The Major Eights 3: The Goo Disaster! book
#2
The Major Eights 3: The Goo Disaster!
Written by Melody Reed and illustrated by Emilie Pepin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

In book three of the Major Eights series, Maggie has to ace her science fair project or she won't be able to perform with the band at the annual arts banquet! Maggie is thrilled to perform with the Major Eights at the school's annual arts fund-raising banquet. But when Maggie's science grade starts slipping (her one difficult subject), her mom refuses to let her play at the banquet unless she can get an A on her science fair project. Can Maggie and the girls find a way to make sure Maggie aces the project?

Kitty Alone book
#3
Kitty Alone
Written by John M. Feierabend and illustrated by Mina Echevarria
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Kitty Alone is the latest in a series of captivating picture books, each based on a beloved songtale from the great American folk music heritage. This beautifully illustrated version sets the song in the Appalachian Mountains and uses a bobcat, called a "woods ghost" by locals, as the title character. Like the other titles in the First Steps in Music series, Kitty Alone includes song history and notation, along with a free download link for the song, sung by Jill Trinka.

The Eleventh Trade book
#4
The Eleventh Trade
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

From debut author Alyssa Hollingsworth comes a story about living with fear, being a friend, and finding a new place to call home. They say you can't get something for nothing, but nothing is all Sami has. When his grandfather’s most-prized possession—a traditional Afghan instrument called a rebab—is stolen, Sami resolves to get it back. He finds it at a music store, but it costs $700, and Sami doesn’t have even one penny. What he does have is a keychain that has caught the eye of his classmate. If he trades the keychain for something more valuable, could he keep trading until he has $700? Sami is about to find out. The Eleventh Trade is both a classic middle school story and a story about being a refugee. Like Katherine Applegate, author of Wishtree, Alyssa Hollingsworth tackles a big issue with a light touch.

The Major Eights 2: Scarlet's Big Break book
#5
The Major Eights 2: Scarlet's Big Break
Written by Melody Reed and illustrated by Emilie Pepin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

In book 2 of the Major Eights series, Scarlet goes solo and risks alienating her bandmates. After their Battle of the Bands competition, the girls are famous! Everyone knows who they are now--even strangers recognize them! But the attention starts to go to Scarlet's head, and she decides to sign up for the school's talent show as a solo artist. But what about the Major Eights? Should she really leave the band and her friends behind? With each book told from a different girl's perspective, this series is all about girl power, diversity, and marching to the beat of your own drum!

  1. The Major Eights 5: The New Bandmate - In book 5 of the Major Eights series, Jasmine breaks her arm just when the Major Eights have a big show coming up. Can they find a way to save the show? Just before a big show, Jasmine breaks her arm. The Major Eights don't want to let down their audience, so they ask Leslie to sub. But Jasmine is worried the band will like Leslie better. Is this the end of the Major Eights as they know it?

  2. When Paul Met Artie - Long before they became one of the most beloved and successful duos of all time, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were just two kids growing up in Queens, New York—best friends who met in a sixthgrade production of Alice in Wonderland and bonded over girls, baseball, and rock ’n’ roll. As teens, they practiced singing into a tape recorder, building harmonies that blended their now-famous voices until they sounded just right. They wrote songs together, pursued big-time music producers, and dreamed of becoming stars, never imagining how far their music would take them. Against a backdrop of street-corner doowop gangs, the electrifying beginnings of rock ’n’ roll, and the rise of the counterculture folk music scene, G. Neri and David Litchfield chronicle the path that led two young boys from Queens to teenage stardom and back to obscurity, before finding their own true voices and captivating the world with their talent. Back matter includes an afterword, a discography, a bibliography, and a fascinating list of song influences

  3. The Life of / la Vida de Celia - Born in 1924 in Havana, Cuba, Celia Cruz has become one of the most popular singers in the world. Her career started at a young age, when she began began entering singing contests and winning pastelitos for her efforts! Celia and her husband later moved to New York, where they became friends with other performers such as Tito Puente. As her popularity soared, Celia became known as the ?Queen of Salsa'. To this day, her magnificent music continues to be sugar to our ears!

  4. Jack & Louisa Act 1 - A show-stopping series about life in the spotlight from Broadway actors and internet sensations Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherheada. Twelve-year-old Jack Goodrich was a Broadway star-until a sudden voice change cost him his dream role. Now he lives with his parents in Shaker Heights, Ohio trying hard to leave his acting past behind. But his new neighbor, Louisa-a self-proclaimed musical theater nerdo-won't stop until Jack auditions for a local production of Into the Woods. Fans ofTim Federle's Nate Foster bookswill rejoice to meet the newest MTN's (musical theater nerds) on the block- Jack & Lou.

Jack & Louisa Act 2 book
#10
Jack & Louisa Act 2
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Cast opposite each other when their middle school stages a production of Guys and Dolls, Jack and Lou find their ambitions of stardom threatened by a mysterious new director, a Broadway-level dance call and a new stage competitor.

Katie Cox Vs. the Boy Band book
#11
Katie Cox Vs. the Boy Band
Written and illustrated by Marianne Levy
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Katie Cox never meant to become a pop star. And she didn't mean to start a war with Karamel (a.k.a. the World's Cheesiest Boy Band). Now her first concert is just days away. Cool? Maybe. But with her school friends more interested in her fame than her feelings, and an army of Karamel fans ready to take her down, this battle goes way beyond the charts.

Ella Queen of Jazz book
#12
Ella Queen of Jazz
Written and illustrated by Helen Hancocks
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Ella Fitzgerald sang the blues and she sang them good. Ella and her fellas were on the way up! It seemed like nothing could stop her, until the biggest club in town refused to let her play… and all because of her colour. But when all hope seemed lost, little did Ella imagine that a Hollywood star would step in to help. The inspiring, true story of how a remarkable friendship between Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe was born – and how they worked together to overcome prejudice and adversity.

The Song From Somewhere Else book
#13
The Song From Somewhere Else
Written by A.F. Harrold and illustrated by Levi Pinfold
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Frank thought her summer couldn't get any worse--until big, weird, smelly Nick Underbridge rescues her from a bully, and she winds up at his house. Frank quickly realizes there's more to Nick than meets the eye. When she's at his house, she hears the strangest, most beautiful music, music which leads her to a mysterious, hidden door. Beyond the door are amazing creatures that she never even dreamed could be real. For the first time in forever, Frank feels happy . . . and she and Nick start to become friends. But Nick's incredible secrets are also accompanied by great danger. Frank must figure out how to help her new friend, the same way that he has helped her. Paired with gorgeous black-and-white illustrations from Levi Pinfold, acclaimed author A. F. Harrold weaves a powerful story about unlikely friendship, strange magic, and keeping the shadows at bay. Awards for The Song from Somewhere Else A School Library Journal Best Book of 2017 A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2017

The Monster Next Door book
#14
The Monster Next Door
Written and illustrated by David Soman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In a big field, a boy has a tree house, and one day, he has a neighbor—a monster with a talent for silly dances and funny faces. The two become fast friends, even setting up a pulley line to pass notes between their tree houses. The boy knows just how to celebrate this invention—with music! But the monster’s tuba music is loud. Really loud. WAY. TOO. LOUD. Before the boy can think, he hurls a water balloon at his neighbor to get him to stop. An epic water-balloon fight ensues, until the boy—fed up, spent, done—cuts the pulley line. No more note-passing. No more monster. Can the boy and monster ever be friends again? Does the boy even want to? Maybe he just needs to see things from a new, unexpected perspective.

  1. The Major Eights 1: Battle of the Bands - Jasmine, Maggie, Becca, and Scarlet love jamming together, but are they ready to perform in front of a real audience in a Battle of the Bands competition? Find out in the first book of this early chapter book series! Jasmine, Maggie, Becca, and Scarlet love jamming together in Jasmine's basement. Maggie bangs on the drums, Becca strums her guitar, Jasmine plunks the keys of her keyboard, and Scarlet wails into her hairbrush mic. Even though they may not have the best equipment, or an audience, they have fun making music to their own beat. But when Jasmine's brother tells her about an upcoming Battle of the Bands competition, Jasmine thinks this could be their chance to prove they're a real band. Now she just has to convince the other girls. . . . With each book told from a different girl's perspective, this series is all about girl power, diversity, and marching to the beat of your own drum!

  2. Dreambender - Everyone in the City is assigned a job by the choosers—keeper, catcher, computer. Callie Crawford is a computer. She works with numbers: putting them together, taking them apart. Her work is important, but sometimes she wants more. Jeremy Finn is a dreambender. His job is to adjust people's dreams. He and others like him quietly remove thoughts of music and art to keep the people in the City from becoming too focused on themselves and their own feelings rather than on the world. They need to keep the world safe from another Warming. But Jeremy thinks music is beautiful, and when he pops into a dream of Callie singing, he becomes fascinated with her. He begins to wonder if there is more to life than being safe. Defying his community and the role they have established for him, he sets off to find her in the real world. Together, they will challenge their world's expectations. But how far will they go to achieve their own dreams?

  3. Heartbeat - This cinematic picture book from critically acclaimed author and illustrator Evan Turk follows the life of a baby whale from birth, to song, to silence, to a new song of compassion and hope for a brighter future. Two hearts, one song. A young whale and her mother sing together. Heartbeat. Then the mother is gone. One heart, one song. The young whale swims, alone and lonely, for days and years and decades... until one day a little girl hears her and joins her song. Together, they sing of hope for a brighter future. One world, one song, one heartbeat.

  4. Katie Cox Goes Viral - Everybody's watching Katie Cox... Katie Cox is used to going unnoticed, by her mom, her dad, even her best friend. But when a video of her singing in her bedroom goes viral, she becomes a superstar overnight. As the views skyrocket and a recording contract beckons, the real world starts to feel very far away. It isn't long before Katie starts riding high on her newfound fame. But the higher she goes, the further there is to fall...

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!