Summer Reading List

What better time than Summer to discover some great books?! Today's post is a book list that shares some titles that tell the stories of musical artists or composers, some that have fun with music, and some that explore having positive self-esteem (very important for artists who are in the habit of being vulnerable by putting themselves into performing situations). As a former children's bookseller, and an avid reader, connecting with people about books is one of my most favorite hobbies. 

If you're looking for a way for your summer reading to get your piano kid out of the house, just head to your local library! Here in McPherson, the library's summer reading program gives kids a free book just for signing up, as well as entry into the drawing for the big prize. If they complete a reading log, they can earn more prizes AND more entries into the drawing. If you haven't checked that out already, you can learn all about the Summer Kid's Programming here, there are still a few weeks left to take part as the program runs until August 2nd. 

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, which means if you happen to click through and make a purchase, the studio will get a small compensation for the referral. 

Without any further ado, here are my picks to try this summer! 

Ages 3-6 

By Doreen Cronin 
When the animals on Farmer Brown's farm become aware of a talent show coming to town, they start preparing their acts! Get ready to sing along with the cows, sheep and ducks as they get ready to perform. This is the third book by this author, after Click Clack Moo and Giggle Giggle Quack. All three books are excellent for feeling rhythm within the language, and for a great story!

By Brian Lies
These bats form a band in an empty summer theater, and play until daylight signals the end of their concert. This is a great book for spotting different instruments and details in the illustrations.

By Josh Crute
I really like this book for anyone who is interested in the creative arts, and here's why: Oliver is the second largest Sequoia tree in the forest, and he becomes obsessed with outgrowing the largest, until one day he has a change in perspective. This book is about being the best version of yourself, and not trying to be a version of someone else.

Ages 6-9

By Pam Munoz Ryan
Marian Anderson rose to fame in Europe and abroad after being denied in the US because of her race. Then in pre-civil rights 1939, she performed a concert at the Lincoln Memorial that drew an integrated crowd of 75,000. Her story is one of courage, and immense talent, told beautifully in this picture book with illustrations by Brian Selznick. 

By  Lloyd Moss
When the book begins, a trombone is on the stage all alone, and gradually it is joined by the other instruments of the orchestra with rhythmic verse and vibrant illustrations. This is a terrific introduction to the instrument families.

By Alice Briere-Haquet
I really like the story-telling in this one, especially how the piano keys are used throughout in very poignant ways. Nina Simone is perhaps best known for her singing career and her civil rights activism, but she was also a sensational pianist. This book tells some of her early childhood story, and how she became the legend we remember.

Ages 9 and up

Legends, Icons & Rebels
By Robbie Robertson
Ages 9-12
This book introduces 27 of the big names in popular music, from Aretha to Elvis, to a new generation using art, factoids and reflections. The book is very engaging and comes with 2 CD's to listen to music from these iconic artists. This will keep soon-to-be music afficionados coming back for more! 

All Summer Long 
By Hope Larson
Ages 10-14 Bina is looking forward to spending the summer with her best friend, Austin, but when he goes off to a soccer camp, she's left to come up with something else. An authentic coming-of-age graphic novel that tells the story of a budding songwriter and guitarist who learns that  that music can be a good place to land, and the best fulfillment comes from inside herself.  

By Rachel Hartman
Ages 12 and up
This one is for your fantasy readers. Set in a universe where humans and dragons co-exist, Seraphina is half dragon, half human (which by all accounts shouldn't be possible, but here she is). She is also a musician, and musical tutor to the royal children. Seraphina soon realizes she is not the only hybrid. The story is both fun and meaningful. The music woven throughout feels very real, probably because the author is herself a cellist, and the message about finding belonging in yourself rings true. 

And that's a wrap on my book recommendations this summer! If you try out any of these, or if you discover any other great books this summer, I'd love to hear about them. 

Any book-related post from me would not be complete without a plug for our amazing local bookstore, Twice Told Tales, the kids section particularly delightful to sit down and read in, and includes a dollar shelf!

If you're wanting more recommendations, you can check out these booklists from past years: