Monday, February 7, 2011

Picture Books that Focus on Music

In this post, I recommend picture books, mostly with a global multicultural emphasis that focus on music.

Aliki. 2005. Ah, Music! New York: Harper Trophy.
Anderson, M.T. 2003. Strange Mr. Satie. Illustrated by Petra Mathers. New York: Viking Juvenile.
Anderson, M.T.  2001. Handel Who Knew What He Liked. Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.
Belting, Natalie. 2006. Whirlwind is a Spirit Dancing. Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. Introduction by Joseph Bruchac. New York: Milk & Cookies Press.
Brown, Monica. 2004. My Name Is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/Me llamo Celia: La vida de Celia Cruz. Illustrated by Rafael López. Flagstaff, AZ: Luna Rising.
Burleigh, Robert. 2001. Lookin’ for Bird in the Big City. Illustrated by Marek Los. San Diego, CA: Silver Whistle/Harcourt, Inc.
Bynum, Eboni and Roland Jackson. 2004. Jamari’s Drum. Illustrated by Baba Wagué Diakité. Toronto: Groundwood.
Carle, Eric. 1996. I See a Song. New York: Scholastic.
Celenza, Anna Harwell. 2006. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Illustrated by Joann E. Kitchel. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.

Celenza, Anna Harwell. 2005. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Illustrated by Joann E. Kitchel. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
Celenza, Anna Harwell.  2004. The Heroic Symphony. Illustrated by Joann E. Kitchel. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
Celenza, Anna Harwell.  2003. Pictures at an Exhibition. Illustrated by Joann E. Kitchel.
Chambers, Veronica. 2005. Celia Cruz: Queen of Salsa. Illustrated by Julie Maren. New York: Dial.
Costanza, Stephen. 2004. Mozart Finds a Melody. New York: Henry Holt.
Curtis, Gavin, 2003. The Bat Boy And His Violin. Illustrated by E. B. Lewis. New York: Aladdin.
Cutler, Jane. 1999. The Cello of Mr. O. Illustrated by Greg Couch. New York: Dutton Juvenile.

Dillon, Leo and Diane Dillon. 2002. Rap a Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles—Think of That! New York: Scholastic/Blue Sky.
Dole, Mayra L. 2003. Drum, Chavi, Drum!/ ¡Toca, Chavi, Toca! Illustrated by Tonel. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press.
Dumont, Jean Francois. 2005. A Blue So Blue. Translated by Michel Bourque.New York: Sterling Publishing Co.
Fitzgerald, Ella. 2003. A Tisket, A Tasket. Illustrated by Ora Eitan. New York: Philomel.
Gatti, Anne. 2005. The Magic Flute. Illustrated by Peter Malone. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
Gerstein, Mordicai. 2002. What Charlie Heard. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Gollub, Matthew. 2000. Ten Oni Drummers. Illustrated by Kazuko G. Stone. New York: Lee & Low Books.
Hayes, Ann. 1995. Meet the Orchestra. Illustrated by Karmen Thompson. Orlando, FL: Voyager.
Hopkinson, Deborah. 2002. A Band of Angels. Illustrated by Raul Coloñ. New York: Aladdin.
Igus, Toyomi.1998. i see the rhythm. Illustrated by Michele Wood. San Francisco, CA: Children's Book Press.
Isadora, Rachel. 2002. Bring on that Beat. New York: Putnam.
Isadora, Rachel. 1997. Young Mozart. New York: Viking.
Isadora, Rachel.  Ben’s Trumpet. New York: Harper Trophy.
Johnson, Angela. 2004. Violet’s Music. Illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith. New York: Dial.
Kono, Erin Eitter. 2005. Hula Lullaby. Boston: Little, Brown. Krull, Kathleen. 2003. M Is for Music. Illustrated by Stacey Innerst. Boston: Harcourt.
Kuskin, Karla. 1986. The Philharmonic Gets Dressed. Illustrated by Marc Simont. New York: Harper Trophy.
Lester, Julius. 2001. The Blues Singer: Ten Who Rocked the World. Illustrated by Lisa Co- hen. New York: Jump at the Sun.
Littlesugar, Amy. 2001. Shake Rag. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. New York: Putnam Juvenile.
London, Jonathan. 1996. Hip Cat. Illustrated by Woodleigh Hubbard. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.

Lord, Michelle. 2008. A Song for Cambodia. Illustrated by Shino Arihara. New York: Lee & Low Books.
Mathis, Sharon Bell. 2006. Ray Charles. Illustrated by George Ford. New York: Lee & Low Books.
Colin McNaughton, Colin. 2004. Once Upon an Ordinary Day. Illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura. Andersen Press.
McPhail, David. 2001. Mole Music. New York: Henry Holt and Co.
Medina, Tony. 2009. I and I: Bob Marley. Illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson. New York: Lee & Low Books.

Miller, William. 2004. The Piano. Illustrated by Susan Keeter. New York: Lee & Low Books.
Miller, William.  2001. Rent Party Jazz. Illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb. New York: Lee & Low Books.
Moss, Lloyd. 2003. Music Is. Illustrated by Philip Petit-Roulet, New York: Putnam.
Moss, Lloyd. 1995. Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin. Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. New York: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

Myers, Walter Dean. 2007. Jazz. Illustrated by Christopher Myers. New York: Holiday
Myers, Walter Dean. 2006. Blues Journey. Illustrated by Christopher Myers. New York: Holiday

Myers, Walter Dean. 2001. The Blues of Flat Brown. Illustrated by Nina Laden. New York: Holiday House.
Nelson, Marilyn. 2009. Swethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All Girl Swing Band in the World. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. NY: Dial.
 Nichol, Barbara. 1999. Beethoven Lives Up-stairs. Illustrated by Scott Cameron. New York: Orchard.
Orgill, Roxane. 1997. If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong. Illustrated by Leonard Jenkins. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Pinkney, Andrea Davis with Scat Cat Monroe. 2002. Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuoso. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. New York: Hyperion.
Pinkney, Andrea Davis. 1998. Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. New York: Jump At The Sun.
Pinkney, Brian. 1997. Max Found Two Sticks. New York: Aladdin.
Price, Leontyne. 1990. Aida. Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. New York: Harcorut.
Pritchett, Dylan. 2006. The First Music. Illus-trated by Erin Bennett Banks. Little Rock, Arkansas: August House.
Prokofiev, Sergei. 2004. Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf: With a Fully-Orchestrated and Narrated CD. Illustrated by Peter Malone. New York: Knopf Books. Raschka, Chris. 2002. John Coltrane's Giant Steps. New York: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books.
Raschka, Chris. 2001. Simple Gifts. New York: Henry Holt.
Raschka, Chris. 1997. Mysterious Thelonious. New York: Scholastic.
Raschka, Chris.1992. Charlie Parker Played Be Bop. New York: Scholastic.
Roberts, Brenda C. 2004. Jazzy Miz Mozetta. Illustrated by Frank Morison. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Ryan, Pam Muñoz. 2002. When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson. Illustrated by Brian Selznick. New York: Scholastic.

 Say, Allen. 2004. Music for Alice. San Diego, CA: Houghton Mifflin.
Schroeder, Alan. 1999. Satchmo’s Blues. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper.New York: Dragonfly Books.
Schubert, Leda. 2006. Ballet of the Elephants. Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker. Millbrook, CT: Roaring Brook Press.
Schuch, Steve. 2002. A Symphony of Whales. Illustrated by Peter Sylvada. Orlando, FL: Voyager Books.
Seeger, Pete & Paul Dubois Jacobs. 2006. The Deaf Musicians. Illustrated by Gregory Christie. New York: Putnam Juvenile.

Shange, Ntozake. 2004. Ellington Was Not a Street. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Siegelson, Kim L. 2003. Dancing the Ring Shout! Illustrated by Lisa Cohen. New York: Jump at the Sun.
Sis, Peter. 2006. Play, Mozart, Play! New York: Greenwillow.
Smith, Charles R., Jr. 2002. Perfect Harmony: A Musical Journey with the Boys Choir of Harlem. New York: Jump at the Sun.
Stauffacher, Sue. 2006. Bessie Smith and the Night Riders. Illustrated by John Holyfield. New York: Putnam.
Taylor, Debbie A. 2004. Sweet Music in Harlem. Illustrated by Frank Morrison. New York: Lee & Low.
Troupe, Quincy. 2005. Little Stevie Wonder. Illustrated by Lisa Cohen. San Diego, Ca: Houghton Mifflin.
Velasquez, Eric. 2001. Grandma’s Records. New York: Walker.
Wilson, Budge. 2006. A Fiddle For Angus. Illustrated by Susan Tooke. Toronto: Tundra Books.
Winter, Jonah. 2006. Dizzy. Illustrated by Sean Qualls. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books.
Winter, Jeanette. 1997. Sebastian: A Book about Bach. San Diego, CA: Houghton Mifflin.


  1. I'd include Marilyn Nelson's "Sweethearts of Rhythm" illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. It's a beautiful children's book written in verse.

  2. Thanks Tara for your suggestion. You're right it is a "sweetheart" of a book. The beauty of internet-based lists is that I can always updated and did. I had to include a picture of it as well as Jerry Pinkney's art work is always so inspiring. Thanks again and I hope you will check back soon as I will be posting picture book recommendations for each grade level (already did K), writing craft with multicultural texts, books that privilege the visual arts,and more...

  3. An amazing list! Thought I would pass on to you that in Aug/Sept 2009 we delved into this top with an issue entitled Music in Children's Literature.

  4. Wow, a great list - so glad to have discovered it (via karadi tale twitter feed)

  5. Thanks Corinne. Love Always recommended it to my grad students.

    Playing by the book, glad you stopped by to take a look.

    Hope you both will visit again as I will be posting other books.


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