The Best Children’s Literature for the Music Classroom

A list of books from newly published to classics for the music classroom with links, music connections, activities, and lesson plans!

If you are looking for captivating books that seamlessly blend literature and music in your classroom, look no further! This e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g list of recommended books will provide musical connections information and valuable lesson plan ideas. Whether you’re seeking to expand your library or searching for fresh ideas to enrich your music curriculum, find great ways to integrate literature into your music curriculum.

Table of Contents

The Bookstore | A Quick Reference Guide for the Year

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The Nutcracker & Ballet Books

MLK & Black History Month Favorites

  • Martin’s Big Words is a classic. It shows Dr. King from baby to adult so great appeal to kids.
  • Duke Ellington-ANYTHING by the Pinkney family is gold. Reading a biography followed by a music activity is meaningful.
  • Trombone Shorty-a 21st-century artist and fantastic story
  • Build a House-by musician Rhiannon Giddens fuses Black history and music.

December Favorites

Book Reviews With Music Connections

The Mitten by Jan Brett and More

This Ukrainian folk tale has been rewritten by many authors. The most obvious music connection I found is the addition of animals to the mitten which just screams CUMULATIVE form. This resource has a single song with cumulative form OR the form could be the skeleton of an entire program where each animal is a section of the concert.

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Build A House by Rhiannon Giddens

Book review with LESSON PLANS, research links,
and more!

TPT companion resource below, “We Shall Not Be Moved.”

  • Grades 4-7 (These grades were chosen because of the instrumental parts. The melody can easily be sung by K-3)
  • The book ends with a line from the song, “And I will not be moved.”
  • Activities to teach the I, IV, V7 harmonies using Orff parts and ukulele.
  • Perform using only Orff or only ukulele, or a combination.

The Secret of the Plátano by Luz Maria Mack

Set in the Dominican Republic, this gorgeous book is about the love between abuela and her grandson, and the magic of dancing and nature.

The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson

“Fly Away” is a companion resource to “The Year We Learned to Fly.”

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Change Sings by Amanda Gorman

“The Change Is You” and “Change the World With Kindness” are companion resources to “Change Sings” by Amanda Gorman.

The Girl Who Heard Music by Marni Fogelsen with Mahani Teave

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The true story of award-winning pianist and environmental activist Mahani Teave and the beloved island she is helping to save.

A perfect read for K-5 about the power of music, environmentalism, and making a difference.

More about Mahani Teave on Wikipedia and an NPR Tiny Desk Concert. Part of the video is a tour of her music school created from trash.

Mahani would be an AMAZING Musician of the Week!

Ohana Means Family by Ilima Loomis

A great book about Hawaiian culture to use with multiple grade levels! K-2 can use movement and un-pitched percussion and grades 3-5 can use movement and barred instruments!

A song that would complement the learning in the book.

This old chant was set to music by Winona Beamer. The kahuli (tree snails) or pūpū kanioe (land shells) are the singing snails of legend.  Winona Beamer was a champion of authentic and ancient Hawaiian culture, publishing many books, musical scores, as well as audio and video recordings on the subject.

In My Heart by Jo Witek

Sun Wishes by Patricia Storms

Tapestry is the perfect companion resource to  “Sun Wishes” with its story of colors, weaving, layers, and in this case, a tapestry of sound!

Just Help by Sonia Sotomayor

Next books to be added:

  • Wutaryoo
  • The Earth Gives More
  • Holi Hai

Each new book addition will be announced in the Oodles Newsletter

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If you have a book you’d like for me to include, please comment below.

Author: lbbartolomeo

I'm a mom, wife, teacher, reader, gardener, trekkie, sci-fi fanatic, musician, dog lover, and a Christian. I hope my contributions bring some joy and happiness to your life!

4 thoughts on “The Best Children’s Literature for the Music Classroom”

  1. Good morning, I can only click on the bottom two pictures even going to the actual page in your blog. Should that be the case? I was hoping there would be more than one book to get ideas from (in the video).

    Thanks for everything, Rachel

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Rachel, sorry. This is a new directory for the blog and just in the beginning stages so there is only 1 right now. Because I recommend (by creating myself or linking others’ resources or general lesson plan ideas) it will become more than a list, but a true resource and takes me quite a while to create. I have in the draft stages the books Wutaryoo, Just Help (by Judge Sotomayor), and In My Heart. Coming up also-Ohana Means Family and The Earth Gives More. I will let everyone know through my Oodles Newsletter when those become available but the plan is to complete the first set in the next two weeks and then the rest by the middle of July. I’d like to get a good number on there before the start of the next school year and then just continue to add. Also, I’m trying to create with books that are pretty current releases if not newly released and easily complement a music curriculum. Thank you so much for asking about it!

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