Music is not only an incredible art, but it can also be used as a learning tool for students. Some can retain information better when it is set to rhythm and rhyme. This list includes a wide variety of options. From chapter books to storybooks, these fiction and nonfiction texts help students connect to music and musicians.
Nonfiction and Biography Music Books for Kids
1. Who Was Mozart?
One of the popular National Geographic books, this biography tells the incredible story of a young boy who grew up to become a historic composer. This book is best suited for upper elementary school and comes with a digital resource through a website with examples of how to connect common standards.
2. Duke Ellington
Winning the Caldecott Medal and the Coretta Scott King Honor, this picture book tells the story of Duke Ellington. Brian Pinkney and Andrea Davis Pinkney created another bestseller by bringing beautiful pictures and rhythmic words together in this musician’s biography! All elementary school students will enjoy this book, and it is great for Black History month as well!
3. When Marian Sang
The award-winning biography of Marian Anderson has five-star book reviews! It includes detailed and realistic artwork and tells the courageous story of a young woman who was determined to share her voice with the world! This book is best for 2nd grade-fifth grade.
4. Who was Selena?
This book is a great way to bring in new information about another culture! This book goes through the life and events of Selena. It is a chapter book and there are many other musicians and bands in this series. These books are great ways to make cross-curricular connections as well. Geared more for upper elementary or middle school students.
5. Elvis is King
Another amazing biography, this book is geared towards upper elementary. Unique artwork in the form of clay figurines combined with the life events of Elvis in this book. The author brings history to life with the story of this iconic artist and his musical talents!
6. A History of Music for Children
This nonfiction tribute to music around the world is full of interesting facts and colorful illustrations! It covers a diverse range of music genres and musicians and even includes a playlist of songs for the reader to enjoy!
7. RESPECT: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul
Uniquely written in rhyme, this biography tells the story of the soul legend Aretha Franklin! The beautiful illustrations and strong storyline help children understand the power of music and how it can affect daily life. This award-winning book is a great way to make cross-curricular connections to history.
8. Ada’s Violin
Based on a true story, complete with incredible five-star book reviews, this book tells of how one man took the trash and turned it into treasure for many young children in his town. This fascinating book tells a charming story of how Favio Chavez created musical instruments for children by using random trash found in the landfill. This book is ideal for young readers.
9. Trombone Shorty
Trombone Shorty boasts a Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award. This beautiful book showcases some amazing artwork and tells the life story of Troy Andrews. This biography is great for making cross-curricular connections to use during Black History Month as well. Elementary school-aged readers will enjoy this classic book about how a young boy’s dreams came true.
10. M is for Melody
This alphabet book in a music-themed version is sure to be loved by elementary-aged children! Filled full of musical terminology, full of bright and vibrant artwork, and told through rhyme, this music book for kids is a must-read!
Fiction Music Books for Kids
11. Acoustic Rooster
This comical story is told in the form of rhyme and has a great play on words! The colorful illustrations paint a picture of a rocking barnyard with a jazz band full of animals. This 32-page book is ideal for younger elementary-aged children.
12. Violet’s Music
Violet is a music-loving young girl who marches to the beat of her own drum. Angela Johnson does a great job telling the story of this jazz baby who grows into a music-loving girl and how there is always a friend to be made. This book is great for ages 4-8.
13. One Love
Based on the classic song, One Love by the iconic artist Bob Marley, this picture book is written by the beloved musician’s daughter. Cedella Marley does a great job of turning her dad’s hit song into a lovable book for children!
14. This Magical, Musical Night
This fun fictional story uses poetic text to tell the story of a symphony orchestra. The author uses musical terms throughout the book and includes a glossary as well. The diverse collection of characters works together to create a magical musical, complete with all different types of instruments. This book is geared towards ages 4-8.
15. My Family Plays Music
This Coretta Scott King Award-winning children’s book is a fun story of a young girl who tries out many different instruments with her family. Early elementary children will enjoy the paper-cut illustrations and colorful diversity of this book, as well as a glossary of musical terms.
16. Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo
John Lithgow penned a fun and adventurous story about a boy who dreams about animals taking over a musical concert. The digital artwork and humor throughout make this book exciting and engaging for young readers aged 2-6.
17. Drum Dream Girl
Inspired by a Chinese-African-Cuban girl’s childhood, this story tells of how girls can be drummers too and ultimately came to be accepted on a small island long ago. This award-winning book shows a young girl’s bravery and determination and is especially great for all elementary-aged students.
18. 88 Instruments
When a young boy gets the option of choosing an instrument at the music store, he realizes that the possibilities are great and he struggles to choose just one! Through watercolor art and humor, the story of this young boy is one that keeps elementary-aged readers interested!
Music can open the door for amazing things to happen. In this sweet story, beautiful artwork complements the text and paves an inspiring sequence of events. Best suited for older elementary kids, this would be a great book to use when teaching cause and effect as well.
20. Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin!
A perfect contribution to classical music, this book begins with a trombone and adds other instruments throughout the story until there is an orchestra playing together. Winning the Caldecott Honor, this counting book can be used across the curriculum!
21. Wild Symphony
Uniquely written through rhyme and combined with colorful and detailed illustrations, this book includes hidden animals throughout. This musically minded book would be sure to be a hit as a read aloud to young elementary children.
22. Music is in Everything
Heartfelt illustrations accompany a sweet story about the fact that a beautiful song can be made with your voice, even if you don't have an instrument. Written by Ziggy Marley, son of the iconic artist Bob Marley, this musician brings a sweet story to life! Perfect for elementary-aged children.
23. When Step Met Skip
This is a fantastic book to use when introducing children to music. It turns notes into characters and helps teach students about the basics of reading music through a sweet friendship of two cute characters. This book is best for younger elementary-aged readers.