It has been researched that acquiring literacy skills and music skills have many things in common, including comprehension, decoding, and sensory processes (The Music and Literacy Connection). One way to combine the two types of skills is to incorporate literacy activities in the music classroom. Children's books are a great way to accomplish this goal.

The books on this page are divided into 7 categories. The basis of this grouping has been taken from the article "Integrating Music and Children's Literature" in Music Educator's Journal (Note-one category, songbooks, has been omitted). The categories will be described on the remainder of the page with at least one example book from each. The first four categories are more directly related to music and the last three are more indirectly related to music by way of concept or story. I have added many books on this page myself, but there are also books and summaries from other students. If the entry is taken from another page on this Wiki, the link will be embedded underneath the title of the book. Also, if the book can be found at the Crumb or Crane libraries, or through InterLibrary Loan, the link will be embedded in the book's picture. Simply click on these links, and they will take you to the corresponding page on this Wiki or on the library website.

Note: This semester (Spring 2012) I am working on a research project about the connection between literacy and music, and during the process I am creating a curriculum for the general music classroom. My main focuses with this curriculum are to incorporate children's literature, focus on music as expression, and to incorporate composing into the lesson plans. Beneath the books listed below that I have found to be of particular use in my project, I have put an additional few sentences preceded by a * and in italics so as to give readers ideas on how I used books in my curriculum and to spur on thoughts of how to further this use in their own classrooms and curricula. In my research I have also come across some great articles with lists of books to use in the music classroom. Following are the PDF files with citations.



  • Eppink, J. A. (2009). Engaged music learning through children’s literature. General Music Today, 22(2), 19-23.



  • Fallin, J. R. (1995). Children's literature as a springboard for music. Music Educator's Journal, 81(5), 24-27.



  • Gauthier, D. R. (2005). Children’s literature in the music classroom: Finding the music within. Music Educator’s Journal, 91(3), 51-56.



1. Books that are Songs


  • Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford with art by Floyd Cooper
books.jpegfrom Across the Arts: Music-Poetry-History Links

This book is FABULOUS and can be used for all kinds of lessons or even for pure leisure. The books is comprised of Billie Holiday's song lyrics and the artwork of Floyd Cooper. The pictures and organization of each song is supposed to represent the life of Billie Holiday from her childhood to when she becomes famous. Many of her songs are very poetic and the artworks is very expressive. In my opinion the lyrics set the tone and the artwork tells the story for it is very chronological.


Crumb Juvenile : Juv. PS3623.E375 B43 2008

  • God Bless the Child by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog Jr. and illustrated by Jerry Pinkey
external image god-bless-the-child1.jpg
from Developing Fluency Through the Medium of Vocal Music

The text of the book God Bless the Child is that of Billie Holiday’s song of the same name. Only seven of the twenty-nine pages in the story have text; all others are entirely illustration. The text of the song praises those who have the values of initiative and hard work. The illustrations tell the story of “a family moving from the rural South to the urban North during the great migration.”Certain activities with this book would make natural extensions from our original lesson about fluency. Because the text is actually poetry (specifically, song lyrics), it poses unique challenges and opportunities for readers with regard to fluency. First, we have all experienced the narcotic effects of poetry read as though absolute rhythm were sufficient for expression. To perform this text with prosody, the reader must make specific decisions as to which lines should have a pause after them and which should not, how to negotiate normal syllabic emphasis of each word with the apparent emphasis patterns of the lines, etc. Readers must also decide how to vary and add interest to lines of text that are repeated verbatim immediately. The following occurs 3 times in the book: “But God bless the child/That’s got his own!/That’s got his own.” The text, separated from the music, is awkward at times, due to choices that the writers made to fit the text with the music (or at least the pattern of the poetry), as in the following line: “And it still is news.” That is clearly not phrased as a modern student would naturally speak. Elements of African American dialect are also written into the poetry because of the way Holiday sang them. These include grammatical elements, as in the phrase “That’s got his own,” as well as word endings (“lots o’ friends” and “crowdin’”).

Sheard Children’s Fiction : F HOL, B



2. Books about the Importance of Music




From the music to the Crusades, to performances in castles, courts, palaces, and villages, to music in churches and guilds; Medieval Music by Joan Arnold covers the importance through the broad connection, in the expansion of “Back to the Highland games!” of music influence and development in the medieval time period. The strongest connection this book can offer is in the chapter music of the village greens. Overall Joan Arnold does an amazing job at reflecting the importance of the medieval time period with maps, pictures, and traditional sheet music.

CRANE Juvenile : Juv. ML172 .A77 1982

  • The Worst Band in the Universe by Graeme Base
from Musical MadLibs: Talking Music
external image 61JPG6DBZBL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
Wow! Where to begin? This book is fabulous! It's has beautifully colorful, detailed and engaging illustrations. There are character sketches and portraits in the beginning, informing the reader of what to look for. Throughout the entire book Base uses rhyming words with adjacent lines in each stanza rhyming. The text is creative, and original, as is the unique, fun vocabulary that's specific to the story. The book also comes with a CD in the back, with tracks that corresponds with the "Worst Band in the Universe" Competition.

The Worst Band in the Universe, takes us on an intergalactic journey to Planet Blipp, where the hero, Sprocc, is fighting to play his music on his futuristic Splingtwanger, which goes against the law. When the Musical Inquisitor gets word of Sprocc's atrocities, he banishes him and his band to Wastedump B19. Sprocc and his friends escape, rebuilding a spaceship that's powered by music, and they return to their home planet to battle the Inquisitor.

The message the book is trying to get across is that it's okay to have diversity in music, and to juxtapose old styles with new. The book also illustrates the significance, and extraordinary quality of coming together, and working to create music.

There's so much that you could do with this book. You could have the students:

1) write their own creative intergalactic music adventure, using some new vocabulary words, and/or make a comic strip out of it
2) storyboard the book
3) create a play or reenact one scene from the book
4) listen to the CD included with the book and: compose their own intergalactic music, publish a class book of music and perform it at a concert
5) create their own space instruments to play the music that they composed


Crumb Juvenile : Juv. PZ8.3.B2894 Wo 1999


  • Mole Music by David McPhail
from lesson plan on Morgan & Courtney's Page

external image 9780805028195.jpg
This book can help children see the power of music and what it is capable of. Mole hears music on the television one day and decides that he would like to learn to play. He orders a violin and after much waiting it arrives. It takes Mole awhile to be able to play songs on his violin, but he is persistent in his practice. Mole’s hard work pays off in the end when many hear his beautiful music (unbeknownst to him).

Teachers can use this book to teach their students about the affects of music including how it can bring people together and positively affect mood. Another use for Mole Music would be to use to show students that persistence in practicing will pay off in the end! It took Mole one whole month to be able to play a scale! Students will probably be able to relate to this.

Crumb Juvenile : Juv. PZ7.M2427 Mn 1999




3. Books about Composers and Musicians


*This book is available through ILL.
This book tells the story of how Modest Mussorgsky came to write the piece Pictures at an Exhibition. This story will introduce a very influential composer to students, as well as show them how music can be inspired by other arts (in this case art). The book comes with a CD of the music by Modest.

*I would use this book in my curriculum to introduce a composer, talk about his life, and talk about how the arts (dance, poetry, art, music) can inspire music. In this particular case the music is inspired by art. The students would listen to the music and look at the art pieces to determine how Modest used certain elements to musically paint the pictures. I would also have a book of art for the students to look at and we would talk about how we would compose music to express that piece of art.


  • What Charlie Heard by Mordicai Gerstein


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Many musical ideas can be talked about using this biographical book about the life of Charles Ives. Students can learn from this book to listen to the music allaround them. They will get a view of the life of a child who is much like them, and how this child got into music and intocomposing. Students will follow Charlie on a journey through life and see how he kept composing and playing music until he no longer could.

*I feel that this is a great introductory book to the world of composing. I can talk with students about what they hear everyday and how it influences them. We will talk about composing and that experimentation is important in this musical endeavor.


CRANE Juvenile : Juv. ML3930.I94 G47 2002



  • Jazz A•B•Z: An A to Z Collection of Jazz Portraits by Wynton Marsalis and illustrated by Paul Rogers
from Music Vocabulary: An Instrumental Approach

This book is an interesting mix of poem book and teacher's aid. This book by Wynton Marsalis is a fairly comprehensive guide to some of the most influential jazz
41ugzvY-SeL._SS400_.jpgartists of all time. The poems are really well written, and the illustrations b Paul Rogers are very eye catching (they seem to be in more of an art-decco style). Also worth noting is the sheer amount of jazz artists Marsalis covers. When I read through it, there had to be at least 25 jazz artists he wrote about. Though the language in some of the poems used somemore advanced English words, the material is still very accessible to students grade 2 and up (or even younger grade levels if the work is read to the student. As I already stated, this book was written with the teacher in mind! There is a plethora of good resources in the back of the book which give a more detailed history about each of the jazz artists that are covered. Overall, I really enjoy this book. Not only would I use this book with a classroom of younger students, but also with my own
children (when the time comes).

CRANE Juvenile : Juv. ML3506 .M35 2005


  • Sweet Music in Harlem by Debbie A. Taylor and illustrated by Frank Morrison
from Music Vocabulary: An Instrumental Approach

main.jpgSweet Music in Harlem is a book that teaches about community, history and many of the instruments used in a jazz setting. The plot of the story is about a young "jazzman" named C.J who plays a second hand clarinet. His Uncle Click, a trumpet player, is being photographed for a well-known magazine. Before the photographer comes Uncle Click loses his hat. It's up to C.J to visit all the places his Uncle was the day before in order to find it. Those places include a barbershop, a diner and a jazz club. Every place that C.J. visits does not have the hat, the do however have other items that his Uncle forgot about. Eventually, due to the fact that everybody knows Uncle Click and wants a chance to be in the picture, they all come together and take the picture. At the end of the book C.J recieves a new clarinet from his Uncle for his birthday, and inside the box Uncle Click finds his hat. This would be a great book to use in the classroom. Not only does it give instrumental vocabulary (trumpet, melody, clarinet, bass, vibraphone, drums) it also gives common used words that children may not know (scolded, fidgety, headliner, photographer, muttered, waitress, handkerchief, wedged, jazzman). This book also helps teach about having a strong community. Everybody in the book knew and cared about each other. The history lesson is found at the end of the book. The story was inspired by a famous photo taken in 1958. This photo, taken in Harlem, includes many of the jazz greats. If students wanted to know more, or if you wanted to turn this book into a project where students had to do research on a certain jazz genre, group or person, they could easily find a name right in the back of the book.

  • The Philharmonic Gets Dressed by Karla Kuskin and illustrated by Marc Simont
9780064431248.jpg
from Music Vocabulary: An Instrumental Approach

The Philharmonic Gets Dressed is an entertaining book that gives a general understanding of how musicians get ready for a concert. The illustrations in the book may be deemed "raunchy" for certain age levels, but they do serve as a good learning tool. Many of the vocabulary words in the book both instrument related and clothing related. i.e. all the instruments in an orchestra and clothes such as leg garters, cummerbund, etc. What's great about this book is how they describe for younger people exactly what males wear, and what females wear in the orchestra. With all the instruments being covered, the book presents each section of the orchestra (brass, woodwind, percussion, strings). To incorporate this as a lesson one could have students look up each of the instruments and give examples of how they are used in an orchestral setting.

Crumb Juvenile : Juv. PZ7.K965 Ph 1986


  • I see the rhythm by Toyomi Igus
0892391510.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpgfrom From Instruments to Musical Genres
I see the rhythm by Toyomi Igus gives a clear and unique outline of the history of jazz. It shows the reader where jazz first started and how in evolved over time. This book would be perfect to use in an older elementary/middle school music classroom.


CRANE Juvenile : ML3556 .I48 1998

external image Handel_who_knew_what_he_liked.jpg
  • Handel: Who Knew What He Liked by M. T. Anderson and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

from Musical MadLibs: Talking Music

This book is a good tool for building students' general vocabulary, as well as their musical vocabulary. Through this book, students learn about the history of Handel while learning vocabulary in a fun way. This book could be easily used with the activities that we described in our lesson, or students could also make it into a play. Students could incorporate the vocabulary words that they learned from the book in a completely different show/play, or they could simply turn the book into a script and act it out. Another advantage of this book is that it simplifies the concept of opera, in a manner that students can easily understand. Once the students know what an opera is they could then create their own operas individually, or as a class using the vocabulary words from the book.

CRANE Juvenile : ML3930.H25 A56 2001


  • I, Vivaldi by Janice Shefelman

from Practicing & Persistence: Developing Expertise


external image 61L6aE0V4sL._SS500_.jpg
I, Vivaldi is the story of Antonio Vivaldi's childhood. The book is written as if Vivaldi himself is telling the story. It starts off with the day Vivaldi was born. He almost died because he could not catch a breath. Vivaldi's mother made a vow to God that if Vivaldi survived, then he would become a priest. Vivaldi survived, but his mother's vow would cause a lot of trouble. Since he had breathing troubles, Vivaldi could not run and play with the other boys. Instead, Vivaldi became interested in music. Through lessons his father, Vivaldi learned to play the violin. Every day he practiced, and he got better and better. The young Vivaldi became convinced that God wanted him to become a violinist, not a priest like his mother vowed, which caused a lot of tension between him and his mother. When Vivaldi was seven, his father took him along to one of his rehearsals. At the beautiful Church of San Marco, Vivaldi joined his father in his rehearsal. Vivaldi loved it; he forgot everything but the music. When they finished, the maestro (conductor) tells Vivaldi's father, "Giovanni, you have a most talented soon." Vivaldi makes a vow that music would be his life. The years pass, and now Vivaldi is fifteen and ready to beging studies for priesthood. He and his mother get into a row, in which Vivaldi makes it clear that he would rather die than give up music to become a priest. Vivaldi's father tells him that he must keep his mother's vow, but he could practice after his studies. Vivaldi began his studies, but they did not come first. He composed music and played his violin. Three more years passed. Finally Vivaldi was ordained as "the Red Priest" because of his hair, but he still had music on his mind. His fame as a violinist grew, and music just flowed into his head. Vivaldi makes a "confession" in this book that he once left during a service to go write down the music he had in his head before he forgot it. He said that he could not breathe again until he wrote the music down on paper. When the bishop at the service scolded him, threatening to tell the cardinal, Vivaldi said "Then tell him, Your Excellency, that I do not wish to say Mass again. I wish to make music." The Cardinal excused Vivaldi from saying Mass and gave him the task of teaching violin to orphan girls. Vivaldi was so excited; now he could fully devote his life to music! Not only did he teach violin, he also conducted an orchestra and wrote music for the orphan girls. He says that the girls inspired him to try a new kind of composition that makes musical pictures. This was his famous piece, The Four Seasons. The girls gave concerts in the chapels, and people from all over Europe (including kings) came to hear them. Vivaldi's mother and father were so proud of his accomplishments, even if they were not exactly what they expected.

CRANE Juvenile : Juv. ML3930.V58 S5 2008


  • Do Re Mi: If You Can Read Music, Thank Guido D’Arezzo by Susan L. Roth in association with Angelo Mafucci
from Musical Tools of the Trade: Leitmotifs and Beyond
Doreme.jpg
This book focuses on the history of music notation. Before we had our contemporary notation, people used to pass down music orally. This story is about a monk named Guido, who wanted to figure out a way to write down music. His method became known as Solfege. Guido invented the Do, Re, Mi system of struggled for years to come up with amusical system to teach people to read music. Without the work of Guido, we would not have Gregorian chant, or the music of Bach, Beethoven, or the blues.


Crumb Juvenile : Juv. PZ7.R737 Do 2006




4. Books about Instruments or Musical Concepts


  • Folk Instruments by Lee Gilmoreexternal image il_570xN.257326852.jpg
from Back to the Highland Games! Scottish and Celtic Folk Music Tradition

While this read is a little old with its second printing at 1962, this book offers a concisely extensive overview of the origins, history, development, and organology of several folk instruments. The instruments in question are the fiddle, banjo, guitar, ukulele, mandolin, zither, jeudgtromp, bagpipe, harmonica, and the accordion. While the wealth of information here is quite diverse and useful, the instrument of main concern to our lesson is the bagpipe. The bagpipe's origins were to be as a suitable replacement for other pipe instruments to accommodate for outdoor settings and festivities where it was difficult to hear. This defends the boisterous (and often perceived as offensive-sounding by students) nature of this instrument quite well, unabashedly mentioning that it is an instrument for very festive, or even militaristic occasions--not for symphony orchestra.

CRANE Juvenile : Juv. ML3930.A2G5


  • Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
from Musical MadLibs: Talking Music


external image zin.jpg
This book proved a wonderful resource for Tier 2 vocabulary. The book describes some the different instruments played in an orchestra, and what they sound like, including: the trombone, trumpet, horn, cello, violin, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and harp. It introduces students to musical vocabulary words, which describe the different chamber groups, including: solo, duo, trio, quartet, quintet, sextet, septet, octet and nonet. The book also uses descriptive adjectives, and musical vocabulary words including: tone, notes, bright, brassy, orchestra, concerts, and brasses. There are many rhyming words, as well, and the book could easily be adapted for a fluency lesson. The text is engaging and the pictures are colorful. Wonderful resource!


Sheard Children’s Fiction : F MOS, L




  • Music Math by Kathleen Collins
from Musical Tools of the Trade: Leitmotifs and Beyond

Musicmath.jpg
Music Math by Kathleen Collins, is a small book about basic theoretical concepts in music. It goes over simplistic but helpful definitions of musical terminology such as composer,musical notation, rhythm, and tempo. "Numbers tell us how to count in math, notes tell us how to count in music." Explains different note values and their symbols. This book also has pictures of several instruments and their names. Book has helpful diagrams explaining dotted rhythms and different meters. Through this book, students will learn how to basically interpret a piece of music.

Crumb Juvenile : Juv. QA117 .C64 2004




5. Books with a Natural Rhythm


  • This Jazz Man written by Karen Ehrhardt and illustrated by R. G. RothEvite-small-jazz-man_copy.gif

from From Instruments to Music


This book is a beautifully illustrated book about nine different jazz artists and their instruments. The words are in the format of the song "This Old Man" and therefore the book can be sung to that tune if so chosen (although there are a lot of words). For this lesson the book would be read and then the teacher and students would talk about different instruments, people, and listen to some music samples.


Crumb Juvenile : Juv. PZ8.3.E297 Th 2006



  • I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello by Barbara S. Garriel and illustrated by John O’Brien

from a lesson on Amanda & Chris's Page


external image 978-1-59078-043-5.jpg
This new take on a classic children’s song “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” is quite hilarious and students are sure to love it! The shy fellow in the story manages to swallow a cello, harp, sax, fiddle, flute, kazoo, and bell. The pictures are quite colorful and hilarious. You’ll have to read to find out what happens!


This book can be used for teaching quite a few concepts in the music classroom. One is to talk with the students about various instruments and their sounds. Another way to use the book can be to help students recognize rhyming words within the text of the story. Yet a third way to use this book in the music classroom would be to have the students sing it!


CRANE Juvenile : Juv. MT785 .G37 2004



6. Books in which Aspects of Music are Included, but are not Primary to the Story


  • The Bat Boy and his Violin by Gavin Curtis
from Practicing & Persistence: Developing Expertise The Bat Boy and his Violinis the story of Reginald, an avid violin player, and how his playing impacted the luck of his father's baseball team. The story is set in 1948; the 834924_500.jpgbeginning of integration in baseball. Reginald's father is the manager of the Dukes, "the worst team in the Negro National League." This season for the Dukes has been very tough; the best players of the African-American league are leaving to go play with the white teams. Reginald does not care about baseball, and he spends his days practicing his violin. Reginald's Papa is much more concerned with the Dukes's losing streak, and he decides that Reginald would benefit from being the bat boy for the team. Reginald is worried that being bat boy for the team will make his practice time suffer, and that he will not be ready for his recital. A deal with his Papa makes Reginald agree to his Papa's request, and he joins the team for their game against the Buckeyes. Reginald uses every opportunity he can to practice, and he fills the dugout with Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. The Dukes luck began to change, and they stopped losing to the other teams because of Reginald's practicing. For the last game of the season, Reginald's Papa announces that the team is playing the top team in the league, the Monarchs. Despite Reginald's playing, the Dukes lose by one point. Although sad, Reginald's Papa realizes the gift that his son has for playing the violin, and assures Reginald that even a baseball game would not change the fact that he loves his son. The story ends with Reginald's recital for his proud parents and the entire baseball team with their wives.

Sheard Children’s Fiction : F CUR, G


  • The Dog Who Sang at the Opera by Jim West and Marshall Izen and illustrated by Erika Oller

bkdogsing.jpg
What a wonderful book! The Dog Who Sang at the Opera is based on a true story. Pasha thinks that she is the most wonderful dog around—in fact, she thinks she is royalty.When she gets a chance to appear on stage for an opera at the MET, it seems as if all her dreams are about to come true. When she decides to start “singing,” she indeed gets all the attention she hoped for, but not everyone is pleased with her performance. She is banned from the stage but continues to sing in more private venues. She also makes a few friends along the way.

This book is a fantastic way to introduce the concept of opera to younger students. You can teach them about the MET, arias, and specifically talk about the opera mentioned in the story—Manon.

Sheard Children’s Fiction : F WES,J



7. Books not Directly Connected with Music but Creatively Associated with Musical Pieces or Ideas



037586458X.1.zoom.jpg
* This book is available through ILL.
This book is essentially a visual to composer Camille Saint-Saëns The Carnival of the Animals. The author wrote a poem for each movement of the piece and with each new poem is a beautiful illustration. The book comes with a CD of the author reading each poem followed by the music.

*This book fits in perfectly with my curriculum. The Carnival of the Animals is all about music as expression and it gives students a wonderful chance to explore instrumentation, dynamics, tempo, ect. In the back of the book the author gives a wonderful suggestion to deepen students learning and understanding of these concepts. He suggests having each student come up with an animal not covered in the book and to have the students write a poem, an illustration, and music to go with their animal of choice.

  • Aïda by Leontyne Price and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
external image 51BlfP5RkML._SL500_AA300_.jpg from Developing Fluency Through the Medium of Vocal Music

The first book that we chose to add to our lesson is Aïda,as told by Leontyne Price. The narrative is a story of a young Ethiopian princess, named Aïda,who gets captured by her country's rival in war: Egypt. She is sentences to be a slave, yet her beauty inspires the Pharaohto give her as a gift to his daughter. Aïda falls in love with the captain of the Egyptian army, and he falls in love with her. He plans to unite the two countries, and live in peaceful love with her. However, the Pharaoh's daughter is also in love with the captain. When Egypt marches to war with Ethiopia, the Pharaoh's daughter tricks Aïda, and tells her that the captain has died in order to make sure she is in love. When Aïda weeps openly, the daughter is enraged that the young "slave" is in love with the captain. The captain returns victorious, and at the same time, Aïda discovers that her father is also serving as a slave. The captain sees Aïda run to her father, and he requests as a wish of victory, that the slaves are freed. The Pharaoh allows this, but keeps Aïda's father. The Pharaoh also tells the captain that he will marry his daughter after such a victory. Aïda meets with her father, and explains her love,e but her father forces her to betray the captain into giving the Ethiopian army a route to invade Egypt. Aïda does so, but with a broken heart. Once the captain divulges the only
open route into Egypt, Aïda's father attacks with his army. The daughter of the Pharaoh had followed the captain, suspicious of his actions, and calls him a traitor. The captain stops Aïda's father from murdering the daughter, and stalls for Aïda to escape. When returned to the Pharaoh, the captain is declared a traitor, and sentences to be buried alive in the deepest vault possible. To the captain's surprise, Aïda had hidden in the vault, waiting for him. They are buried together, and although the captain cannot open the vault, Aïda calms him. They hold tight to one another, set in each others embrace forever.

CRANE Juvenile : Juv. ML3930.V4 P7 1990



  • Tuesday by David Weisner

from Telling Stories with Music


external image tuesday.sh.jpg
Plot: The story begins at 8 pm on a Tuesday in a swamp. After we see the frogs in the swamp they begin to start flying on lily pads. They leave the swamp and get into their own adventures throughout thenight. There are detailed, lush pictures where the frogs are flying through someone’s laundry, are chasing and being chased by a dog and are seen in an old woman’s house. Then, the sun comes up and the frogs have the hopback to the swamp. The last page of the book says “Next Tuesday around 8 pm” and theaccompanying picture is of pigs flying.


Resource: This can be used as a reverse of the first lesson. Our first lesson had students write a story based on music and then create their own pictures and storyboard. This book has no written story and it would be up to students to create their own story and then they can add their own music or compose (for older students).



Crumb Juvenile : Juv. PZ7.W6367 Tu 1991


  • Can You Hear It? By William Lach
from Telling Stories with Music

Plot: The book has an introduction to the different instruments with a brief description and picture. The next section of the book has works of art from the Metropolitan
Museum of Art and is accompanied with a piece of music. The book comes with a CD that has recordings of all the pieces that were chosen for specific works
external image 616QBSRWCEL._SS500_.jpgof art. Pieces included are: Flight of the Bumblebee, American in Paris, Carnival of the Animals, Nutcracker, The Four Seasons and Billy the Kid: Gun Battle

Resource: For younger students what we could do as an activity is one that is suggested by the book. Next picture are prompted question. The first question is about the artwork and asks the students to find something in the piece. The two questions after are asked after the students listen to the piece to see if they can hear musical ideas. For middle school students we could show them the artwork and ask them to find their own piece or show them a piece and ask them to find artwork. If we were to use this lesson for high school level students, we could have them compose their own music for a piece of art.



CRANE Juvenile : ML3928 .L33 2006


  • Storm Coming! by Audrey Baird and illustrated by Patrick O’Brien

51Kdsj-MvbL._SL500_AA300_.jpg


Storm Coming! is a book about the signs of an impending storm about to hit. Each page has a colorful picture and a poem to go with what’s going on in the picture.


*This is a great book to pair with the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. Students can make a rain storm soundscape to go with the book and then listen to Beethoven’s music and compare/contrast the two.





  • Peter and the Wolf by Michèle Lemieux

external image 9780688098469.jpg
This book is the story of Peter and the Wolf, which is associated with the piece of the same name by Sergi Prokofiev. The story follows a boy who wants to hunt down the ominous wolf, but his grandfather will not let him. He gets tied up in the hunt with a duck, a cat, and a bird, and danger ensues. Hunters some in to save the day. This can be a great teaching tool to talk to students about motives and themes, and also how music can tell a story.

*In my lesson plans, after we talk about the piece associated with the story, I have the students compose their own motives and themes to go with the book.

  • Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

external image 6-4-Jumanji.png


This is the classic story of Jumanji, a game found by Peter and Judy. The book tells of what happens to these children as a result of their finding the game, and all the madness that ensues. Children will find this book both engaging and exciting.


*I paired this book with the fifth movement of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. Reading the book with the musi
c in the background is an effective way to introduce to the students how music can affect stories even if one wasn’t necessarily written for the other. After using the music with the book, I would discuss with the students what the music is actually portraying.




  • Flotsam by David Wiesner

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This book is unique in that it contains solely pictures. These pictures are beautiful and extremely detailed and they tell a wonderful story. The boy in the book is at the beach and finds a camera. He gets the film developed and when he receives the pictures, he finds an amazing surprise. The pictures are filled with others who have used the camera and also beautiful sea scenes.

*Flotsam is a picture book I paired with Aquarium from The Carnival of the Animals. I use the book to show students how music can affect a story and also how music can portray surroundings.


  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Nancy Willard and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
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This book is a creative spin on the classic The Socerer’s Apprentice. Each page is filled with beautiful illustrations and also a poem that corresponds. In the story, a girl becomes apprentice to a powerful sorcerer. When he leaves her in charge for a little while, things go slightly askew.

*The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, both the music and the book, can be used together to show how music can portray a story. For a composition exercise, students can group up and compose their own music to an assigned scene from the story.




  • Snow Music by Lynne Rae Perkins


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Snow Music is a unique book in which sounds are related to the falling of snow and other happenings in the wintry scenes portrayed. A snowstorm has hit and in the morning there are animals scurrying across the white blanket, as well as people out and about. Each page has few words—sometimes they are rhyming, sometimes they are shaped in certain ways, and sometimes the words are mimicking the sounds of nature.


Teachers could easily have their students compose soundscapes to go with the events in this book. They could talk about programmatic music and have students compose motives for various objects or actions—falling snow, a dog tag jingling, a squirrel skittering along. It would also be neat to have students look at examples from the book of how the words are in certain shapes and to then have students write their own shape poems.


Crumb Juvenile : Juv. PZ7.P4313 Sn 2003