Musical Summer Reading Recommendations

It has become something of a summertime tradition that I put together a list of some favorite children's books that involve music or art. As a former children's bookseller for 12 years at Vromans bookstore, books and literacy will always be special to me. And in the summertime I like the idea of letting go of some of the structure and looking at the value of what we learn during the year with some fresh eyes. So, without any further ado, here is this year's list.

Picture Books

I See a Song by Eric Carle
This book features a musician and his violin. As he plays the instrument, a world of colors and shapes grows on the page. This is the perfect book for stimulating a young artists' imagination and artistic sensibilities. Recommended ages 3-6.

My First Classical Music Book by Genevieve Helsby
The cool thing about this book is that it is available as a physical book, or as an app. You can grab both to use in tandem, or either one individually, and let your piano kid explore the world of classical music. This book introduces several classical composers, and the parts of the orchestra and instrument families in an engaging way with fun illustrations and characters along the way. Recommended Ages 5-8

Pete the Cat, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by James Dean
This board book gives us a favorite children's book character, Pete the Cat, singing a familiar folk song. Excellent for young kids to sing along, to laugh at Pete's shenanigans and enjoy some music together. Recommended ages 2-5.

Chapter Books

Amina's Voice by Hena Kahn
Amina is a Pakistani-Muslim girl who wants to stay true to her family's culture while fitting in at her American middle school, and embracing her love for Motown music. She's more comfortable when she's not in the spotlight, but she has dreams of becoming a soul singing sensation. This is a heartfelt book about finding your own voice. Recommended Ages 10-14.

The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood
Theo has two interests: Baseball and Piano. When he is sent to stay with his Vietnam veteran uncle in a town called Destiny, Florida, Theo is less than thrilled. But he finds a piano at the local boarding house dance school, and meets a friend who loves baseball as much as he does. Mystery, adventure and musical exploration ensue as Theo grows to like Destiny just a little bit. Recommended Ages 9-12.


Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
This is more of a classic than a new release, and sometimes classics are just what we want. Louis is a trumpeter swan like the rest of his family, he's also deaf. So he can't trumpet his love to the beautiful Serena. But his father steals him a real trumpet, and Louis learns to express himself. This book shows us how instruments can become an extension of ourselves, and used as a tool for self-expression. Recommended Ages 8-12

Thanks for tuning in for this year's reading recommendations! If you read any of these, OR find some of your own favorite reads this summer (music related or not) I'd love to hear about them!