Children’s Books about Music

ICAN Radio loves storytelling. From our Audio Book Tours to our Musical Stories with María García, we’re always looking for new ways to share tales of joy, inspiration, resilience, and more with you. With music being the heart of our programming, we’ve come across quite a few children’s books celebrating the power of music that we’d love to share with you. Which ones will you be adding to your bookshelf?

My Family Plays Music

Cover of My Family Plays Music

Written by Judy Cox

Illustrated by Elbrite Brown

Reading age: 4-8 years old

My Family Plays Music tells the story of a young percussionist in an exuberant musical family. Everyone in the family plays a different instrument, from cello in a string quartet to banjo in a bluegrass band. The book’s narrator tells the reader about how she accompanies her family members with various percussion instruments, and they all love to celebrate and make music together.

88 Instruments

Cover of 88 Instruments

Written by Chris Barton

Illustrated by Louis Thomas

Reading age: 3-7 years old

In 88 Instruments, a boy visits a music store with his parents to pick out one (only one!) instrument to learn how to play. But how can he choose? From bagpipes and triangles to trombones and electric guitars, the boy explores the instruments to find the one that feels juuust right.

The Enchanted Symphony

Cover of The Enchanted Symphony

Written by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton

Illustrated by Elly MacKay

Reading age: 4-8 years old

Just released in September 2023, The Enchanted Symphony, written by Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, creates an imaginary world in which a mysterious fog overtakes a small village. The fog makes the townspeople feel isolated and full of sadness. Only through the power of music can the town dispel the darkness, reminding us that life’s seemingly simplest pleasures matter most in challenging times.

The Story Orchestra (Series)

Cover of The Story Orchestra: Carnival of the Animals

Adapted by Katy Flint

Illustrated by Jessica Courtney Tickle

Reading age: 2-8 years old

The Story Orchestra is a series of several books, each exploring a piece of classical music with stunning illustrations and sound clips. Titles include Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, and more. These books offer a beautiful introduction to some of classical music’s most beloved works and break down stories into fun, digestible pieces.

Allegro: A Musical Journey Through 11 Musical Masterpieces

Cover of Allegro

Written by David W. Miles

Illustrated by Anita Barghigiani

Reading age: 1-5 years

Allegro is a little boy who doesn’t want to practice the piano any longer! In a moment of frustration, he is magically swept away on a journey through famous musical stories, such as Grieg’s “Morning Mood” and Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony. Like The Story Orchestra series, Allegro comes with musical excerpts to accompany the colorful depictions of music.

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

Cover for Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, A Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion

Written by Shannon Stocker

Illustrated by Devon Holzwarth

Reading age: 4-8 years old

Listen is an inspirational biography of Evelyn Glennie, a world-renowned percussionist who began experiencing significant hearing loss while still a kid. The book details how Glennie learned to listen with her body rather than her ears and overcame many obstacles due to her disability. With imaginative illustrations, Listen is a powerful story of resilience and the importance of accessibility to music for everyone.

Music Is…

Music is... Cover

Written and illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson

Reading age: 4-10 years old

Stephen T. Johnson’s vibrant book, Music Is…, was inspired by a quote from Langston Hughes’s book, The First Book of Rhythms: “Your rhythm on this earth began first with the beat of your heart.” This book breaks down 10 diverse musical styles for the reader, including Latin, hip-hop, and jazz, and even offers opportunities to experiment with musical improvisation on nearly every page.