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Celebrate Music!

Get movin’ and groovin’ with these children’s books about rhythm and music, and inspire learning and conversation around music, instruments and musicians!

December 11, 2020

Get movin’ and groovin’ with these children’s books about rhythm and music, and inspire learning and conversation around music, instruments and musicians!

 

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I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison

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.

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Pokko and the Drum by Andrew Forsythe

The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her the drum. When Pokko takes the drum deep into the forest it is so quiet, so very quiet that Pokko decides to play. And before she knows it she is joined by a band of animals —first the raccoon, then the rabbit, then the wolf—and soon the entire forest is following her. Will Pokko hear her father’s voice when he calls her home? Pokko and the Drum is a story about art, persistence, and a family of frogs living in a mushroom.

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Wild Symphony by Dan Brown

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dan Brown makes his picture book debut with this mindful, humorous musical, and uniquely entertaining book.

Travel through the trees and across the seas with Maestro Mouse and his musical friends Young readers will meet a big blue whale and speedy cheetahs, tiny beetles and graceful swans. Each has a special secret to share.  Along the way, you might spot the surprises Maestro Mouse has left for you- a hiding buzzy bee, jumbled letters that spell out clues, and even a coded message to solve

Children and adults can enjoy this timeless picture book as a traditional read-along, or can choose to listen to original musical compositions as they read–one for each animal–with a free interactive smartphone app, which uses augmented reality to play the appropriate song for each page when a phone’s camera is held over it.

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The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom by Colleen A. F. Venable

The band director knows everything about all the instruments, and he can’t wait to help find the perfect one for you. But an irrepressible young girl keeps interrupting with enthusiastic BOOM BOOM BOOMS on her drum. At least until the band director introduces one instrument that’s even louder.

This laugh-out-loud picture book from National Book Award–longlisted author Colleen AF Venable is packed with boundless energy and giggle-worthy jokes—as well as information about eight instruments commonly played in school bands. Illustrator Lian Cho’s exuberant artwork matches the text note for note and practically leaps off the page.  Each child in the band is inspired by a real-life musician, and biographies are included at the end of the book.

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The Music in George’s head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue by Suzanne Slade

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.

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Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss

A Caldecott Honor book that is the perfect introduction to musical instruments and a counting book that redefines the genre.

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.

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Be Quiet, Mike! by Leslie Patricelli

Digga-digga-digga-digga, zat, zoom, crash! Leslie Patricelli’s lovable (but noisy!) new character finds an ingenious way to create a sound all his own.

Even before he was born, Mike started drumming. Kick! Thump! Pow! Wherever he goes, his rhythms sing: swis, thak, go his books; bang, clank, goes the trash can; tap, tap, go his pencils; and “BE QUIET, MIKE!” yells everyone around him. But one day Mike sees a drum set in a store window– and puts his hands-on talents to work in a most impressive way. With the bold graphic style and clever details her readers love, Leslie Patricelli strikes a cymbal for active, high-energy little monkeys everywhere.

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Because by Mo Willems

Mo Willems, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, composes a powerful symphony of chance, discovery, persistence, and magic in this moving tale of a young girl’s journey to center stage. Illustrator Amber Ren brings Willems’ music to life, conducting a stunning picture-book debut.

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Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews

Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest.
Along with esteemed illustrator Bryan Collier, Andrews has created a lively picture book autobiography about how he followed his dream of becoming a musician, despite the odds, until he reached international stardom. Trombone Shorty is a celebration of the rich cultural history of New Orleans and the power of music.

 

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Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa

Ella Fitzgerald began her life as a singer on the stage of the Apollo Theater when she was just seventeen years old. Her rich voice and vocal innovations brought her fame and a remarkable career than spanned half a century and won her generations of fans around the world. Acclaimed author Andrea Davis Pinkney has told Ella’s inspiring story in the voice of Scat Cat Monroe, a feline fan whose imagined narrative sings with the infectious rhythms of scat. Two-time Caldecott Honor winner Brian Pinkney’s dramatic perspectives and fantastical images offer a jazzy improvisation all their own

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Barnyard Boogie! by Tim McCanna

The Barnyard Band is performing today. All the musicians are coming to play! Each animal musician knows what to do, but Cow can only moo! This charming book is a wonderful read-aloud featuring musical sounds and a refrain children will love repeating. Tim McCanna’s playful text will have children laughing at the funny musical sounds, and Allison Black’s energetic illustrations will make children want to get up and move.  Barnyard Boogie! is full of rhyming and nonsense sounds that will enrich and delight.

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Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki

In this beautifully written picture book, Hana Hashimoto has signed up to play her violin at her school’s talent show. The trouble is, she’s only a beginner, and she’s had only three lessons. Her brothers insist she isn’t good enough. “It’s a talent show, Hana,” they tell her. “You’ll be a disaster!” Hana remembers how wonderfully her talented grandfather, or Ojiichan, played his violin when she was visiting him in Japan. So, just like Ojiichan, Hana practices every day. She is determined to play her best. When Hana’s confidence wavers on the night of the show, however, she begins to wonder if her brothers were right. But then Hana surprises everyone once it’s her turn to perform — even herself!

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Plinka Plinka Shake Shake by Emma Garcia

Maracas shake, cymbals crash, and bongos “pata-pata.” Kids will love opening this music box of a book and making a joyful noise!  Ting ting, boom boom, and a kazoo that goes WHA WOO! Look what’s in the music box: lots of instruments to bang, beat, and pluck. Can we play a tune? Every child will want to join this fun rhythm band.

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Music Class Today! by David Weinstone

As soon as the teacher starts to play his guitar and sing, the kids are whirling and twirling and having a blast. But for one hesitant little music maker, it is all a bit overwhelming at first. With energetic and bright illustrations, this reassuring story about the courage it sometimes takes to try something new will resonate with children everywhere.

From David Weinstone, the creator of the wildly popular Music for Aardvarks program, and the pitch-perfect Vin Vogel comes this infectious celebration of music class that will make you want to sing and dance with your own little ones!

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Musical Mac by Brendan Kearney

When a millipede can’t find a band to join, he finds a way to make his own special kind of music!  Mac the millipede has lots and lots of arms and legs—which are useful for many things, but especially for making music. He dreams of playing in the Soggy Bog Talent Show with a band, but wherever he auditions, everyone says NO. No one wants him . . . until Mac comes up with an ingenious, satisfying one-millipede solution to his problem! Brendan Kearney’s funny, charming picture book will inspire all kids who like to march to the beat of their own drum.

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Rock ‘N’ Roll Soul by Susan Verde

With the school talent show coming up, a young music lover spends most of her time daydreaming about the perfect act. She notices the sounds around her, like the brrrrring of the school bell or the rappa-tappa-tap of rain on the windowpane. But the talent show is the place to reveal her own voice. Will she mix up some hip-hop beats? Will she command an orchestra of dozens, bringing the classics to life? Or, will she go electric, Jimi Hendrix style? Marching out on the talent show stage to the beat of her own drum, this sweet and sassy musician ultimately chooses to be herself and sing her own song loud and proud, “I’ve got a rock ’n’ roll soul!”

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Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler

With a simple clap of hands, an itty-bitty beboppin’ baby gets his whole family singing and dancing. Sister’s hands snap. Granny sings scat. Uncle soft-shoes–and Baby keeps the groove. Things start to wind down when Mama and Daddy sing blues so sweet. Now a perfectly drowsy baby sleeps deep, deep, deep.

Lisa Wheeler and R. Gregory Christie pair up for a celebration of music, imagination, and big families–but they know that even a jazz baby needs to snooze. Oh yeah.

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