5 Picture Books That Celebrate Music

Music is a fun and natural way for children to practice their early literacy skills. Incorporating rhythm exercises into stories, such as singing and clapping, forces children to slow down, hear, comprehend and pronounce each syllable in a word. It is also a format they are used to since most children’s schools, television shows and movies incorporate music at every opportunity. The library is no exception to this as Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries often host music programs for all ages or incorporate music into their existing programs, such as at storytime.  The library also celebrates music with the Every Child Ready to Read early literacy initiative that encourages caregivers to read, write, sing, talk, and play with their child every day to encourage kindergarten readiness. Below are five picture books that celebrate music and will help get you and your child reading, singing and ready for kindergarten!

 I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofiel-Morrison is a fantastic read that incorporates rhythm exercises such as clapping, stomping, snapping, and more. In the    story, a young girl and her mother begin to hear rhythm from different places along their walk to the park. The book ends with an impromptu (freestyle) dance in which other children from the park join her. Following this story, put on a song that incorporates a natural rhythmic pattern. See if you and your child can clap, snap and stomp to the beat.


Celebrate the classic “Old McDonald Had a Farm” with a punk twist in one of my favorite storytime books titled Punk Farm by Jarret J. Krosoczka. In this story, Farmer Joe just wants to go to sleep. But back in the barn, Cow, Sheep, and Goat are ready to rock the night away. Of course, once you’ve finished the story, don’t forget to play the rock-n-roll version of Old McDonald at home with kid safe instruments.


 Despite being about the plight of babies, this storybook appeals to children of all ages. The natural blues rhythm, funny lyrics, and beautiful illustrations are what create the feeling of specialness in Baby’s Got the Blues by Carol Shields. Listen to some classic blues music during playtime to connect the rhythm of the story back to your child's environment.


Celebrate and explore classical music with Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss. Each page highlights and describes different classical instruments such as flutes, clarinets, bass, violin, and more. This book became one of my favorites the first time I heard the read-along disc version, which incorporates music played by each of these instruments and allows children to hear them separately and then together as a symphony. Check out the read-along version from your local library today to get the full experience this book has to offer.


 The Pete the Cat series by Eric Litwin is beloved by children and music lovers alike. All the books are wonderful at engaging an audience, and each one incorporates music or dance into the story. The newest Pete the Cat Book is the Cool Cat Boogie and doesn't disappoint fans of the series. It is complete with “Boogie” dance instructions in the back of the book. Give the dance a try with a classic funk song to set the mood.



Lonna Vines is the children’s librarian at the Hickory Grove Branch for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Lonna plays the ukulele at her baby and preschool storytimes and is an advocate for music and literacy education initiatives.