If you ask my kids what sports they play, they’re likely to reply, “piano.” If music is important to your family too, you’ll want to nurture your child’s love of music with these picture books. Here are some of my favorites.
Fiction Picture Books About Music
Zin, Zin, Zin, a Violin by Lloyd Moss–This book is a great early introduction to the orchestra. The sparse text makes this a perfect book for preschoolers on up.
The Composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket--For a snarkier take on music, this is a fun choice. A detective tries to discover who killed the composer. Along the way, this book introduces your child to the various members of the orchestra. The CD that accompanies the book is a must.
A Violin for Elva by Mary Lyn Ray–The story beautifully shows that it’s never too late to learn to make music. Most picture books feature children, but the adult Elva is so childlike, children can still relate to her.
Playing from the Heart by Peter H. Reynolds–I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! The rest of Reynolds’ books featuring creativity are wonderful, and the preview on Amazon leads me to believe this will be just as good! Alas, my library doesn’t have it yet…
88 Instruments by Chris Barton–A young boy wanders through a music shop with 88 instruments wondering which is the right one for him… until he discovers the instrument with 88 keys.
Non-Fiction Picture Books About Music
The Music of Life: Bartolomeo Cristofori and the Invention of the Piano by Elizabeth Rusch–In 1700’s Italy, harpsichords pluck strings loudly. Clavichords tap strings quietly. Bartolomeo dreams of an instrument that can play both loudly and quietly. So he sets out to build the first piano-forte. Kids are introduced to musical terms and instruments through this engaging true story.
Do Re Mi: If You Can Read Music, Thank Guido d’Arezzo by Susan L. Roth illustrated by Angelo Mafucci–“A thousand years ago, if you heard a song and wanted to hear it again, you would have to remember it by heart. If you forgot the song, it could be lost forever.” The opening words of this book captured my imagination. The story itself is simple, but the ideas behind it are fascinating. Ask your kids to imagine a world where songs could be lost.
The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson–This beautifully told story is based on a true event. A world famous violinist plays in the New York subway, yet no one stops to listen. But one small boy desperately wants to. It’s a great reminder to slow down and pay attention. The illustrator does a beautiful job at visually contrasting the appeal of music versus the clamor of the city.