The Best 45 Picture Books to Read With Your Kids About Music

Updated Mar. 8, 2019

Music is often mentioned as something that helps all areas of a child's development from emotional, social, intellectual, motor skills, and language to literacy in general. Wow, if one thing can make such a difference we should probably spend a little more time learning about it. This list of books should give you a great start to learn about music with your little ones!

Les & Ronnie Step Out book
#1
Les & Ronnie Step Out
Written and illustrated by Andrew Kolb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Meet a left and right foot who are a pair of complete opposites! Full of clever, giggle-inducing details, this lively odd-couple tale celebrates what makes us all unique, as well as the power of friendship to bring us together despite our differences. Feet come in twos, so they need to step out together. But Les and Ronnie often find it hard to cooperate. Les likes having a clean sock and being responsible. Ronnie is fine with a dirty sock and loves letting loose. Les is straight-laced while Ronnie doesn’t even care about laces. What’s a duo to do?

Giant Dance Party book
#2
Giant Dance Party
Written by Betsy Bird and illustrated by Brandon Dorman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Betsy Bird knows all there is to know about kids and books. She is the New York Public Library’s youth collections specialist, she writes a blog hosted by School Library Journal, and has served on the Newbery Medal committee. Now Betsy Bird has written a children’s book of her own, Giant Dance Party. In this rollicking picture book, a group of giants shows up at Lexy’s door wanting dance lessons. After some initial hesitation, Lexy is happy to teach them, and her dance classes end with all her students—as well as Lexy herself—overcoming their fears and putting on a boogying performance. Brandon Dorman, an award-winning artist whose work can be found in The Wizard, and on the covers of Fablehaven and Goosebumps, brings the giants and their dance moves to life with his full-color illustrations.

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin book
#3
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin
Written by Lloyd Moss and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book does a wonderful job introducing little ones to musical vocabulary, and there's also great rhyming and alliteration. This book counts to ten in numbers and in the names for different sizes of musical groups, such as a quartet. The colorful illustrations and text display many different instruments, and little one's will learn to say "encore!" when they want more. :)

When this book begins, the trombone is playing all by itself. But soon a trumpet makes a duet, a french horn a trio, and so on until the entire orchestra is assembled on stage. Written in elegant and rhythmic verse and illustrated with playful and flowing artwork, this unique counting book is the perfect introduction to musical groups. Readers of all ages are sure to shout "Encore!" when they reach the final page of this joyous celebration of classical music.

Elvis Presley's Love Me Tender book
#4
Elvis Presley's Love Me Tender
Written by Elvis Presley and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The king of rock-and-roll’s #1 hit song “Love Me Tender” is now an endearing picture book Adapted from the unforgettable classic song, Elvis Presley’s Love MeTender is a heartwarming ode to the special bond between children and the adults who love and care for them–be they parents, grandparents, adoptive parents, aunts, uncles, or guardians. With its simple, timeless message, Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender is destined to join Guess How Much I Love You as a baby shower staple. And the sweet, inclusive illustrations make it a book every family will treasure “all through the years, ’till the end of time.”

Shark in the Dark book
#5
Shark in the Dark
Written by Peter Bently and illustrated by Ben Cort
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The shark has been lurking in the deep, dark sea, searching for a fishy snack. He's big and he's mean and he's always hungry. Tired of fleeing the shark, the other seas creatures come up with a plan. If they all work together it might be possible to teach the shark a lesson he'll never forget. With a lively rhyming text; bright, expressive illustrations; and a playful die-cut cover, this is one shark's tale that will be a hit either at story hour . . . or feeding time.

The Piano book
#6
The Piano
Written by Juha Virta and illustrated by Marika Maijala
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

What do you do when a piano shows up in your yard? Take a cat-nap? Use it as a coffee table? What's a band to do when one of its instruments goes missing? And what does a yellow sock have to do with anything?

I Got the Rhythm book
#7
I Got the Rhythm
Written by Connie Scholfield-Morrison and illustrated by Frank Morrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

On a simple trip to the park, the joy of music overtakes a mother and daughter. The little girl hears a rhythm coming from the world around her- from butterflies, to street performers, to ice cream sellers everything is musical! She sniffs, snaps, and shakes her way into the heart of the beat, finally busting out in an impromptu dance, which all the kids join in on! Award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison and Connie Schofield-Morrison, capture the beat of the street, to create a rollicking read that will get any kid in the mood to boogie.

Music Is for Everyone book
#8
Music Is for Everyone
Written by Jill Barber and illustrated by Sydney Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Music is for Everyone is sure to get you excited about making music! Singer-songwriter Jill Barber takes her young readers through many different kinds of music—hip-hop, jazz, classical, folk—and instruments in an energetic, rhyming tour. Sydney Smith’s gleeful illustrations capture all the joy that comes from making music in all its forms!

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop book
#9
Charlie Parker Played Be Bop
Written and illustrated by Chris Raschka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Introduces the famous saxophonist and his style of jazz known as bebop.

Violet's Music book
#10
Violet's Music
Written by Angela Johnson and illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From the days she banged her rattle in the crib, Violet has been looking for friends to share her love of music.

Ada's Violin book
#11
Ada's Violin
Written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A town built on a landfill. A community in need of hope. A girl with a dream. A man with a vision. An ingenious idea.

Sing, Don't Cry book
#12
Sing, Don't Cry
Written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Once a year, Abuelo comes from Mexico to visit his family. He brings his guitar, his music—and his memories. In this story inspired by the life of Apolinar Navarrete Diaz—author Angela Dominguez’s grandfather and a successful mariachi musician—Abuelo and his grandchildren sing through the bad times and the good. Lifting their voices and their spirits, they realize that true happiness comes from singing together.

Today Is Monday book
#13
Today Is Monday
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Learn the days of the week with bestselling author/illustrator Eric Carle through song! String beans, spaghetti, ZOOOOP, roast beef, fresh fish, chicken and ice cream are the delicious fare during the week in this popular children’s song. Until Sunday. Then, all the world’s children are invited to come together and share in the meal. Celebrated artist Eric Carle brings new energy to these much-loved verses as lively animals parade across the page, munching on favorite dishes, and introducing young readers to the names of the days of the week. Both art and song invite children to join in the procession and sing along.

Drum City book
#14
Drum City
Written by Thea Guidone and illustrated by Vanessa Newton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A young boy begins banging on pots and pans in his front yard, enticing other children to join him, and before long the entire city is feeling the beat.

Bats in the Band book
#15
Bats in the Band
Written and illustrated by Brian Lies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

When the weather warms up, bats take advantage of an empty theater to stage a concert.

This Jazz Man book
#16
This Jazz Man
Written by Karen Ehrhardt and illustrated by R. G. Roth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

In this toe-tapping jazz tribute, the traditional "This Old Man" gets a swinging makeover, and some of the era's best musicians take center stage. The tuneful text and vibrant illustrations bop, slide, and shimmy across the page as Satchmo plays one, Bojangles plays two . . . right on down the line to Charles Mingus, who plays nine, plucking strings that sound "divine." Easy on the ear and the eye, this playful introduction to nine jazz giants will teach children to count—and will give them every reason to get up and dance! Includes a brief biography of each musician.

Ben's Trumpet book
#17
Ben's Trumpet
Written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The story of Ben is fiction, but it could be the story of more than one jazz musician who grew up in the twenties. Using the art-deco style of the period, Rachel Isadora not only captures the poignancy and yearning of a youthful talent, but in page after page of striking art seems to convey the very sound of music.

Rabbityness book
#18
Rabbityness
Written and illustrated by Jo Empson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Tells the story of a rabbit whose love of music and art inspires other rabbits even after he disappears.

Ten Little Fingers book
#19
Ten Little Fingers
Written and illustrated by Annie Kubler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

An illustrated board book with words and music to a song celebrating all the things a child can make ten fingers do, including shutting them up tight and opening them wide.

Ella Queen of Jazz book
#20
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.

Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me book
#21
Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me
Written by David Gutnick and illustrated by Mathilde Cinq-Mars
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Not long after arriving in North America from China, a young girl and her father bump into a kind old man at their local park. They have no idea that he has been teaching young people music for over fifty years. Mr. Mergler can hear music in a way that most of us can’t, and he knows this little girl has a talent that, with encouragement, will grow into something magical. He gives her a gift that will tie them together forever

The Walkabout Orchestra book
#22
The Walkabout Orchestra
Written and illustrated by Chloé Perarnau
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The orchestra have an important concert to play… but all the musicians have gone walkabout! Can you help the Maestro and his faithful assistant to track them down using clues from their postcards? Take a trip from Reykjavik to Rio, through Greek islands, Venetian canals and Egyptian pyramids in this search-and-find tour of the world and learn all the instruments of the orchestra as you work your way through this spotting extravaganza.

The Music in George's Head book
#23
The Music in George's Head
Written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Stacy Innerst
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

George Gershwin heard music all the time—at home, at school, even on New York City's busy streets. Classical, ragtime, blues, and jazz—George's head was filled with a whole lot of razzmatazz! With rhythmic swirls of words and pictures, author Suzanne Slade and illustrator Stacy Innerst beautifully reveal just how brilliantly Gershwin combined various kinds of music to create his masterpiece, Rhapsody in Blue, a surprising and whirlwind composition of notes, sounds, and one long wail of a clarinet. Includes author's note, timeline, and bibliography.

A is for Alliguitar: Musical Alphabeasts book
#24
A is for Alliguitar: Musical Alphabeasts
Written by Nancy Raines Day and illustrated by Herb Leonard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A wacky safari that is sure to strike a chord with kids! For each letter of the alphabet, this clever book of rhymes presents a cross between an animal and a musical instrument. From newtubas and mandolions to drumonkeys and pigolos, kids will have a blast during this musical safari. Zany illustrations accompany each creation.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart book
#25
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Written by Isabel Muñoz and illustrated by Jane Kent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Meet composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and learn about his life and music in this engagingly illustrated biography. Wolfgang Amadeus rose to fame as a child genius who wrote his first piece at the age of five, spent a lifetime making music for archbishops and emperors, and created countless compositions until his untimely death at only 35 years old. This engaging biography explores his amazing career, from when Mozart began his musical studies under his father's tutelage; through his time as a court composer, musician, and concertmaster; to his final work in honor of the coronation of Leopold II as King of Bohemia. Along the way, we find out about Mozart's travels and the great composers he met, his difficulties with his rich benefactors, his financial struggles, his marriage and family, and his final illness. Appealing illustrations, information on his breakthroughs and successes, and an index of major events reveal how Mozart left his mark on humanity. A timeline and simple quiz help kids test their understanding and knowledge.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!