Sing, play, and make music. These children’s picture books celebrate the music maker in all of us. Curated by Bonita Bignar.
I See the Rhythm by Toyomi Igus
From Michele Wood and Toyomi Ingus comes their second book, i see the rhythm, a uniquely visual and poetic introduction to the history of African American music.
Beginning with the roots of black music in Africa and continuing on to contemporary hip hop, i see the rhythm takes us on a musical journey through time. We are invited to feel the rhythm of work songs on a southern plantation, to see the rhythm of jazz from a balcony in New Orleans, to dance to the rhythm of swing at the Savoy in Harlem, and to rejoice to the rhythm of gospel from a church pew on a Sunday morning.
Each stunning spread-including art, poetic text, a description of the music style, and a timeline of selected historical events-encompasses the spirit of the times and the strength of the communities where the music was born. Igus’s lyrical text, matched with Wood’s daring vision, captures the feel of each style of music and pays tribute to the musicians who gave the music life.
i see the rhythm is an inspiring celebration of African American music and the far-reaching impact it has had on the world.
Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
book on CD
Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.
The First Rule of Punk by Celia Perez
The First Rule of Punk is a wry and heartfelt exploration of friendship, finding your place, and learning to rock out like no one’s watching.
There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school–you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (Maria Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.
The real Malú loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malú finally begins to feel at home. She’ll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!
The Bat Boy & His Violin by Gavin Curtis
Reginald loves to create beautiful music on his violin. But Papa, manager of the Dukes, the worst team in the Negro National League, needs a bat boy, not a “fiddler,” and traveling with the Dukes doesn’t leave Reginald much time for practicing.
Soon the Dukes’ dugout is filled with Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach — and the bleachers are filled with the sound of the Dukes’ bats. Has Reginald’s violin changed the Dukes’ luck — and can his music pull off a miracle victory against the powerful Monarchs?
Gavin Curtis’s beautifully told story of family ties and team spirit and E. B. Lewis’s lush watercolor paintings capture a very special period in history.
Because by Mo Willems
Mo Willems, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, composes a powerful symphony of chance, discovery, persistence, and magic in this moving tale of a young girl’s journey to center stage. Illustrator Amber Ren brings Willems’ music to life, conducting a stunning picture-book debut.
Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler
With a simple clap of hands, an itty-bitty beboppin’ baby gets his whole family singing and dancing. Sister’s hands snap. Granny sings scat. Uncle soft-shoes–and Baby keeps the groove. Things start to wind down when Mama and Daddy sing blues so sweet. Now a perfectly drowsy baby sleeps deep, deep, deep. Lisa Wheeler and R. Gregory Christie pair up for a celebration of music, imagination, and big families–but they know that even a jazz baby needs to snooze. Oh yeah.
Mama Don’t Allow by Thacher Hurd
Saxophone-playing Miles and his Swamp Band find a bevy of sharp-toothed, long-tailed alligators who love to listen to their music. But little do Miles and his band know what the alligators plan for them at the close of their jubilant all-night ball! Inspired by a traditional song, this vibrant picture book is “ebullient, fast-paced, and funny.”
Mole Music by David McPhail
Mole has always led a simple life, but lately he feels something is missing. When he first hears someone playing a violin, Mole realizes that he longs to make beautiful music, too.
Through practice and patience, Mole learns to play. And even though he plays alone, in the privacy of his underground home, his music has an effect on others that is more magical than Mole will ever know.
Olivia Forms a Band by Ian Falconer
Olivia has decided to form a band: a one-pig band, to be exact. And as we soon find out, Olivia is certainly capable of making enough noise to sound like an entire orchestra.
The Remarkable Farkle McBride by John Lithgow
Young Farkle McBride is a musical genius: He plays the violin, the flute, the trombone, and the drums with incredible skill. But he’s never satisfied: Something is missing.
In his first book, actor and musician John Lithgow introduces a memorable character, a fickle yet lovable child prodigy who brings the sounds and rhythms of an orchestra to sprawling visual life. With a double gatefold showing the entire orchestra, this is the ultimate book for the music lover in all of us.