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Musical-instruments: Books For Kids

Music is many things to many different people: singing in the shower, humming as you work, classical music played by an orchestra, "cymbals that splash and ba-da-ba bass and rat-a-tat-tat drums on a rumbling stage" (Music Is...), etc. The musical instruments that create it are as varied as the music itself. Whether your child already loves music or you're trying to help grow their love, these books are sure to help. From true stories about creating instruments from trash to board books that talk about the sounds each instrument makes, there's something for everyone!

Ada's Violin book
#1
Ada's Violin
Written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

I love this book! It has something for everyone- invention, music, and more. It is a deep book that talks about poverty and the struggles of growing up in a lower-income area. However, Ada is an amazing example of someone who doesn't let life happen to her, but does what she needs to create the life she wants. I would read this story even without my little one, as it is just a story that reaches the heart and helps us all take a deeper look into our lives.

Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a beautifully told true story about a creative music teacher, a little girl with a dream, and the potential that exists beneath the surface in the most unlikely places... even a heap of trash. While it's perhaps a little long and a little deep for a very young audience, it is very accessible for children with an ~10 minute attention span and is told in a way that gives them a glimpse into the poverty Ada and her town were experiencing at a very appropriate level.

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.

Music Is . . . book
#2
Music Is . . .
Written by Brandon Stosuy and illustrated by Amy Martin
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

So fun that this book introduces music vocabulary and even has a list of music terms defined at the end of the book. This book shows the diversity in music, but also a lot of diversity in the people illustrated! The illustrations are really fun and I love the bold pops of color!

From music writer and The Creative Independent/Kickstarter Editor in Chief Brandon Stosuy, comes an entertaining new board book that introduces the many moods, styles, and senses of music to the youngest audiophiles—because music is for everyone, and music is for you. Featuring Amy Martin’s dynamic art style, Music Is… explains music through our eyes and ears so that the sense of hearing is transformed into a visual experience. A pitch-perfect board book that is sure to strike a chord with readers of all ages.

What's That Noise? Toot! Toot! book
#3
What's That Noise? Toot! Toot!
Written and illustrated by Cocoretto
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

"What's that noise? Lift the flap to find out! Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills--and simply joining in!"--Page 4 of cover.

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin book
#4
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.

I Love Music: My First Sound Book book
#5
I Love Music: My First Sound Book
Written and illustrated by Marion Billet
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Readers of every age will be enchanted by this charming board book, which is distinguished by the exceptional quality of the musical sounds that bring every picture to life. I Love Music has a button on every spread, which triggers one of six captivating sounds that introduces a familiar instrument to the reader. An incredibly simple but utterly fascinating interactive book with sounds bound to enchant young readers and ignite an early love of music! A delightful and compelling book in the My First Sound Book series that everyone in the family will enjoy reading again and again.

  1. Little Melba and Her Big Trombone - "A biography of African American musician Melba Doretta Liston, a virtuoso musician who played the trombone and composed and arranged music for many of the great jazz musicians of the twentieth century. Includes afterword, discography, and sources"--

  2. Little Pig Joins the Band - Little Pig has trouble keeping up with his older—and bigger—brothers and sisters. When they get out Grandpa's old marching-band instruments, Little Pig is too little to play any of them. But when the disorganized band has a pig-pile mishap, Little Pig has a BIG idea: They could use a leader.

  3. Sing, Don't Cry - 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.

  4. Ben's Trumpet - 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.

This Jazz Man book
#10
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.

Music Is for Everyone book
#11
Music Is for Everyone
Written by Jill Barber and illustrated by Sydney Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a fun introduction to lots of different kinds of music and does a nice job of showcasing a variety. The illustrations are really fun, beautiful and detailed and give plenty to look at while you read through the rhyming text.

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!

Drum City book
#12
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
#13
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.

Listen to My Trumpet! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) book
#14
Listen to My Trumpet! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
Written and illustrated by Mo Willems
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When Piggie plays her new trumpet for Gerald, the elephant decides he must be honest in his response.

  1. Music - We’re amazing! We can make music, dress up, sing and dance.

  2. Charlie Parker Played Be Bop - Introduces the famous saxophonist and his style of jazz known as bebop.

  3. Mole Music - Feeling that something is missing in his simple life, Mole acquires a violin and learns to make beautiful, joyful music.

  4. Mr. Putter & Tabby Toot the Horn - Mr. Putter's neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry, decides that they should join a band, but finding the right one isn't as easy as it sounds--for them or their pets.

Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me book
#19
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

Ah, Music! book
#20
Ah, Music!
Written and illustrated by Aliki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Music is rhythm. Music is melody. Music is feeling ... and oh, so much more. Ah, music! is about composers and instruments. It's about artists and performers. It's about history -- from the earliest music through classical, modern, jazz, and popular times. It's about diversity and pleasure. Beloved author and illustrator Aliki shares her keen insight and understanding of music and all its themes and variations.

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#21
The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This story is a delightful read with a swan who believes he can do anything, and he does. I loved following along in his adventures and seeing how he dedicates himself. His friend, Sam, was also one of my favorite parts of the book. Louis never quits--which is what allows him to find his best friend, Sam, his true love, Serena, and his many talents, including his trumpeting. Louis learns to make his weakness (being mute) a strength (learning how to play the trumpet) and never thinks he can't do anything just because he's a swan--he even learns to read and write!

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?

Guitar Genius book
#22
Guitar Genius
Written by Kim Tomsic and illustrated by Brett Helquist
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This is the story of how Les Paul created the world's first solid- body electric guitar, countless other inventions that changed modern music, and one truly epic career in rock and roll. How to make a microphone? A broomstick, a cinderblock, a telephone, a radio. How to make an electric guitar? A record player's arm, a speaker, some tape. How to make a legendary inventor? A few tools, a lot of curiosity, and an endless faith in what is possible. Featuring richly detailed, dynamic illustrations by Brett Helquist, this unforgettable biography will resonate with inventive readers young and old.

The Piano book
#23
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? Join Filippa and friends in a whacky adventure when they wake up to find a piano in the front yard. Kids will love the bright and whimsical artwork in this book as they find out how the piano is returned to the band, new friends are found, and music is made.

  1. The Walkabout Orchestra - 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.

  2. Forever Young - Since it first appeared on the 1974 album Planet Waves, "Forever Young" has been one of Bob Dylan's most beloved songs. Now award-winning artist Paul Rogers gives us a new interpretation of the lyrics. With images inspired by classic Dylan songs and pieces of his life, this is a bold and touching tribute to an anthem whose message will always stay forever young.

  3. Olivia Forms a Band - Olivia is back! She has decided to form a band: a one-pig band, to be exact. And, as we all know, Olivia is certainly capable of making enough noise to sound like an entire orchestra . . . Featuring gatefold flaps, fireworks, experiments with lipstick an a very cross mummy, the fourth Olivia book is simply and hilariously told and gorgeously rendered - sure to delight Olivia fans of all ages!!

  4. Manuelo, the Playing Mantis - One warm summer evening, a lonely praying mantis named Manuelo listens to the music of an outdoor concert. Manuelo wishes that he, too, could make music like the crickets and the katydids. But the instruments he makes don't play. Then Manuelo meets someone who shows him how to fashion a cello using a walnut shell, a stick, and a special ingredient. Manuelo makes his first true friend and, together, they create the music they both love.

Have You Seen My Trumpet? book
#28
Have You Seen My Trumpet?
Written by Michael Escoffier and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Following "Take Away the A" and "Where's the Baboon?," this is Escoffier/Di Giacomo's last book in their zany word-play trilogy.

Play, Mozart, Play! book
#29
Play, Mozart, Play!
Written and illustrated by Peter Sis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Introduces very young children to the child prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in a tribute to the beauty of listening, looking, imagining, and, above all, playing.

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