Musical Picture Books

There's nothing quite so inspiring as a stack of music-inspired picture books! Each one tells a powerful story about the impact of music in our lives. At the end of each description, I've included a link to a YouTube video to learn (and hear) more. Enjoy!

The First Notes: The Story of Do, Re, Mi

by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton

Introduce your children to the fascinating history of written music with this stunning picture book featuring illustrated lyrics to “Do-Re-Mi.”

The History and Development of Solfege

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Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay

by Susan Hood

This is the inspiring story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, a group of talented children who play musical instruments made entirely from recycled materials.

The Recyclers: From Trash Comes Triumph

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 Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion

by Shannon Stocker

This is a captivating picture book biography about Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf woman who made history as the first full-time solo percussionist in the world.

Watch Dame Evelyn Glennie perform.

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Mole Music

by David McPhail

When Mole hears someone playing the violin, he realizes that he also longs to create beautiful music. With practice and patience, Mole learns to play the violin and his music has a magical effect on others that he may never fully comprehend.

Listen to violinist Hilary Hahn playing a Bach solo.

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by Mo Willems

Mo Willems weaves a poignant story of a young girl's journey to the spotlight with his charming illustrations and compelling narrative.

Watch a conductor explain what conductors are really doing.

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Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin

by Lloyd Moss

With elegant and rhythmic verse, accompanied by playful and flowing artwork, this counting book is the perfect introduction to musical instruments.

Watch a 3-minute introduction to the orchestra.

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Dancing Hands (How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln)

by Margarita Engle

In "Teresa Carreño: Queen of the Piano," Margarita Engle and Rafael López celebrate the life of a remarkable child prodigy who performed for Abraham Lincoln with soaring words and stunning illustrations.

Listen to Teresa Carreño's original piece, Serenade for String Orchestra.

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 The Heroic Symphony

by Anna Harwell Celenza

When Beethoven discovers that he is going deaf, he becomes resolute in his determination to compose a magnificent symphony. Amidst the turmoil and chaos of war-torn Europe, he finds inspiration in the heroic actions of Napoleon.

Listen to part of the Heroic Symphony.

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 Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin

by Chieri Uegaki

In this exquisitely written picture book, Hana Hashimoto signs up to play her violin at her school's talent show. The only problem is that she's a beginner and has only had three lessons. However, when it's her turn to perform, Hana surprises everyone, including herself!

Listen to the talented Yasuda family play the violin together and read the book aloud.

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Something Wild

by Molly Ruttan

Hannah's vivid imagination conjures up various scenarios before she gains confidence, but ultimately, something amazing happens!

Watch 7-year-old Himari Yoshimura play her violin beautifully.

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Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra

by Andrea Davis Pinkney

This is a picture book biography of Duke Ellington - the pianist, composer, and band-leader who pioneered jazz. Discover the evolution of this uniquely American treasure.

Listen to Duke Ellington and his band play, "Take the A Train"

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The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue

by Suzanne Slade

A picture book biography of composer George Gershwin and his famous piece, "Rhapsody in Blue."

Listen to the New York Philharmonic play Rhapsody in Blue.

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The Greatest Song of All: How Isaac Stern United the World to Save Carnegie Hall

by Megan Hoyt

This is the inspiring story of how Isaac Stern saved Carnegie Hall from demolition.

Learn more about the saving of Carnegie Hall.

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Hold On to Your Music

by Mona Golabek & Lee Cohen

Experience the incredible true story of a girl who escaped the Holocaust and went on to become a concert pianist against all odds, beautifully illustrated.

Listen to the author play the piano and tell a bit of her mother's story.

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