Books About Music

Kids who love to sing, dance, and bounce along to the beat will love the books on this list! We have books about all kinds of music: orchestra, hip hop, jazz, and more! Some of the books cover the history of music, reaching all the way back to ancient times. Other books take a more playful approach and invite kids to make music of their own. Pick a few books, tap your toes, and take off on a musical adventure!

Music: The Definitive Visual History DK

Explore musical history, genres, and instruments in this comprehensive book. It’s filled with nearly 500 pages of information! The book begins with prehistoric times and explores music in six other historical periods. Kids will learn about everything from Elvis Presley to Italian opera and religious chants. There are lots of images and illustrations, too. This book has it all! Kids ages 6+ will enjoy paging through the images, and older kids will be able to understand the information.

Hello, World! Music Jill McDonald

This board book provides a toddler-friendly introduction to music. The text is simple and filled with musical sounds. “Hoot” goes the harmonica and “jingle, jangle” goes the tambourine! The illustrations are vibrant and provide kids with an image of each instrument. Read this one with toddlers and young preschoolers.

Music Is in Everything Ziggy Marley

This book takes Ziggy Marley’s hit song and adds bright illustrations to remind kids that music is everywhere they go. The trees dancing, raindrops hitting the ground, banging pots and pans—it’s all music! It’s a sweet and simple story that shows how much joy music can add to life. Read it with toddlers and preschoolers.

Composers: Their Lives and Work DK

Who comes up with music? Composers, of course! This book explores the lives and works of 90 composers across the world. It’s broken into six chapters that cover the pre-1600s through the 21st century. There’s a profile and photograph for each composer. This book does an excellent job of pointing out the inspiration of each composer as well as the cultural context of their music. In addition to all of this historical information, children will enjoy seeing paintings and photographs of the composers across history. This is another book that spans age groups. Younger children may only look at the images, while older children will be able to understand more of the information.

Music and How it Works: The Complete Guide for Kids DK

This colorful guide presents multiple musical concepts in a way that is sure to hold children’s attention. It covers the basics like the elements of music and the notes on a piano, but it also answers unique questions like “Do animals like music?” Each page is filled with illustrations and small blocks of text. This makes it easy to jump around from topic to topic and find what’s the most interesting for your children. Read this one with children ages 5+.

Wild Symphony Dan Brown

Go on a magical, musical adventure with several animal friends in this book! Each page features an animal, a bouncy musical poem, and a motivational message for kids. The comical illustrations give each animal personality. Maestro Mouse, your guide through the book, is especially cute. Read it with preschoolers and early elementary kids. And, don’t miss the QR code that allows you to download an app and play music with every page of the book!

Welcome to Jazz: A Swing-Along Celebration of America’s Music Carolyn Sloan

This interactive book blends music with history as it journeys through the history of jazz music in America. A sidebar provides 12 sound clips that allow kids to hear jazz instruments like the banjo, clarinet, and trombone. There’s even a button for scatting! The story moves along with the help of a few kittens and their speech bubbles. The kittens also teach kids the basics of music: rhythm, sound, and more. It’s a great book for preschoolers and early elementary kids.

Play This Book Jessica Young

Here’s another interactive musical book! This one is geared toward toddlers and preschoolers. It gives little ones a handful of opportunities to use their imaginations and create their own music! Kids are invited to play the guitar, saxophone, cymbals, and more. It’s an easy, hands-on way to explore music!

Rhythm Rescue Vicky Weber

Have you ever thought that musicians might have superpowers? This book explores that idea with a variety of adventures set in an imaginary city called Music Metropolis. Tala, the main character, has superpowers. Readers have to help her activate these powers by clapping a specific rhythm. Tala will fly through the air, lift heavy objects, and cross a river as she makes her way to her best friend’s house and helps the people of Music Metropolis along the way. Read this one with preschoolers and early elementary kids.

Because Mo Willems

We all know Mo Willems for his silly, lighthearted books, but this book is different. It starts by showing the progression of all the people involved in an orchestra concert: the composer, the orchestra members, and even the graphic designer who creates the advertisements and the train driver who takes the audience members to the venue. It all leads to a young girl attending the concert with her aunt. After that, her world is changed! The concert inspires her to learn about music, and she eventually composes her own symphony. This is a heartfelt book that highlights human connections as well as the transformative power of music. Read it with elementary kids.

Before Music: Where Instruments Come From Annette Bay Pimentel

This oversized book is a whimsical exploration of musical instruments. Each section covers a natural material like clay, gourds, rocks, and the like. There’s a special focus on the cultures that utilize each instrument and the innovators who have made use of each instrument in their music. The illustrations are done in soft color with plenty of white space on each page. Children ages 5-10 will enjoy paging through this one.

The Science of Song: How and Why We Make Music Alan Cross, Emme Cross, and Nicole Mortillaro

Through this book, kids can learn about the science, engineering, math, and technology that goes into making music. It traces the science of music back to the phonograph. More recent advancements like streaming and MP3 players are covered, too. Plus, recommended playlists are included for each section so kids get a totally immersive experience. The text does get a bit heavy and technical in places, but diagrams and illustrations help explain these complex topics. Read this one alongside kids ages 10+.

Music: A Fold-Out Graphic History Nicholas O’Neill and Susan Hayes

Unfold this book to reveal an eight-foot, two-sided timeline of music history! It starts with the Stone Age and travels all the way to current times. Kids will learn about a variety of musical genres, artists, and inventions. The Beatles, Beyonce, and Bollywood are all included! This book is packed with information, often presented in tiny print, so we recommend this one for kids ages 8+.

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop Laban Carrick Hill

It’s 1973 and there’s a party in the South Bronx. A DJ is playing music in a totally new way. It’s the birth of hip hop music! This book tells the story of Clive Campbell, also known as DJ Kool Herc. It’s full of energy, inspiration, and musical joy! The final pages include a personal note from the author and a time line that traces the beginnings of hip hop from 1973 to 1986. It’s a great book for early elementary kids.

Around the World in 80 Musical Instruments Nancy Dickmann

Kids can explore their favorite instruments as well as some little-known instruments in this book. They’ll be introduced to the gamelan, mbira, and yaybahar. Plus, there’s a section on really weird instruments—did you know there’s a band that plays music on instruments made from vegetables? The book covers percussion, strings, and wind instruments too. The bright, colorful illustrations fit the overall feel of the book. Read this one with elementary kids.

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