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LISZT | 11 Children's Books About Classical Music

Par Rebecca Anne Clark le 7 février 2018


You want your kids to learn more about classical music? These 11 great books and series will help.

1-An Introduction to Classical Music series


Listen to the Birds: An Introduction to Classical Music, Simply Fantastic: An Introduction to Classical Music and Amazing Water: An Introduction to Classical Music

By Ana Gerhard (author), various illustrators

For various ages; CDs included

Published by The Secret Mountain, 48 to 68 pages, hardcover

This award-winning series introduces kids to classical music thematically, using pieces evocative of birds, of fairytale creatures, or of water, with two more books planned in the series. The beautiful illustrations will enchant younger children, but this isn’t a learn-to-read series; the small print and advanced vocabulary will require a more advanced reader to take younger children through the text.


2-Welcome to the Symphony: A Musical Exploration of the Orchestra Using Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5


by Carolyn Sloan (Author), James Williamson (Illustrator)

Ages 2-6; sound book

Published by Workman Publishing Company, hardcover, 32 pages

With 19 sound buttons featuring familiar sounds from the string section tuning to the into to Beethoven’s Fifth, the mice conversing in this book will guide your little one through everything she might find at a symphony, from concert etiquette to harmony and tempo.


3-For Kids series

Beethoven for Kids: His Life and Music with 21 Activities and Verdi for Kids: His Life and Music with 21

by Helen Bauer (Author)

Ages 9-13

Published by Chicago Review Press, paperback, 144 pages

These comprehensive tomes include all kinds of historical and musical context that brings the biographical details to life. Activities include everything from crafts and games to perceptive musical listening and even composition exercises that anyone can do. Beethoven and Verdi are the only classical editions so far, but the series includes a number of offerings with figures from art, history, and science.


4-Do Re Mi: If You Can Read Music, Thank Guido D’Arezzo


by Susan Roth (author/illustrator)

Ages 5-10

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers, hardcover, 40 pages

Surprisingly informative and yet highly accessible, this beautifully-illustrated story explores the story of Guido D’Arezzo, the father of Western musical notation, in an engaging way and using simple language, and even includes a glossary of musical terms and a bibliography.


5-Maestro Classics’ Stories in Music series


Peter the Wolf, The Nutcracker, The Story of Swan Lake, Carnival of the Animals, My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, The Tortoise and the Hare, Merry Pranks of Master Till, Casey at the Bat, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Soldier’s Tale and Juanita the Spanish Lobster

by various authors, illustrators, and narrators; The London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Stephen Simon (musicians)

For various ages; CDs included

Released by Maestro Classics, soft cover, 24 pages

These CD/activity book combos cover beloved stories from the classical music canon as well as from children’s literature. Each story features narration and music on disc, while the book portion includes additional information, illustrations, text and activities like word scrambles and match the instrument to the sound.


6-Can You Hear It?


by William Lach (author)

Ages 6-12; CD included

Published by Harry N. Abrams, hardcover, 40 pages

Produced in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this book encourages active listening by prompting listeners to identify certain instruments and the sounds they evoke in pieces like “Flight of the Bumblebee” or The Four Seasons, paired with images of iconic works from the museum’s collection.


7-Those Amazing Musical Instruments!: Your Guide to the Orchestra Through Sounds and Stories


by Genevieve Helsby (author), Marin Alsop (contributor)

Ages 9-12; CD-ROM included

Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, hardcover, 176 pages

With an interesting, dynamic layout, this comprehensive guide to the instruments of the symphony orchestra features tips and commentary from legendary conductor Marin Alsop, a dictionary of terms, and plenty of did-you-know facts. However, the CD included here is in fact an interactive CD-ROM — which might seduce a tech-savvy kid, if your computer still has a CD drive, but the integration between computer and book is still somewhat awkward.


8-Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers series


Bach, The Beatles, Beethoven, Bernstein, Brahms, Chopin, Copland, Ellington, Gershwin, Handel, Mozart, Sousa, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky

by Mike Vezina (author/illustrator)

Ages 6+

Published by Childrens Pr, paperback, 32 pages

These award-winning short-and-sweet books are perfect to introduce kids of various ages to their favourite composer, or many composers! Cartoon jokes illustrate pages of biographical facts, and a variety of composers and styles are covered, from Bach to the Beatles.


9-Story of the Orchestra: Listen While You Learn About the Instruments, the Music and the Composers Who Wrote the Music!


by Robert Levine  (Author), Meredith Hamilton (Illustrator)

Ages 8-13; CD included

Published by Black Dog & Leventhal, hardcover, 96 pages

An accessible, illustrated book that talks about both the instruments that make up the orchestra as well as some of the most famous composers and the eras in which they lived and worked, this book is completed by a 41-track CD full of musical examples.


10-My First Classical Music Book


by Genevieve Helsby (Author)

Ages 5-7; CD included

Published by Naxos Books, hardcover, 68 pages

A surprising amount of information is covered in a book aimed at younger readers; little ones will learn about composers from Handel and Brahms to Stravinsky and John Adams, and even get an introduction to minimalism — a subgenre that even many grown-ups struggle with!


11-Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin


by Lloyd Moss (Author), Marjorie Priceman (Illustrator)

Ages 4-8

Published by Simon & Schuster, hardcover or soft cover, 32 pages

While this title is not “educational” in the way of other titles on this list, it is a Caldecott Honor Book and a crowd favourite since its original publication in 1995. Poetic text and beautiful, fun illustrations make for a book that will familiarize kids with the sounds, feelings, and ideas of an evening at the symphony.


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