5 Children’s Music Books

Piano Teacher in Downtown Toronto

5 Children’s Music Books

I’ve been lending children’s music books from my collection to students throughout the year. I asked students and parents in my studio to name their favourite books thus far. Here’s a list of 5 of them. Have you heard of these? Read on!

1. The Nutcracker

Children's Music Books

The Nutcracker – Stephanie Spinner

Retold by: Stephanie Spinner

Illustrated by: Peter Malone

CD Performed by: The Utah Symphony Orchestra under Maurice Abravanel

Alfred A. Knopf

Based on the ballet with music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, this book retells the classic Christmas Story of Marie, who receives a Nutcracker doll as a gift on Christmas Eve and embarks on a journey where she encounters a fearsome Mouse King, the Sugar Plum Fairy, a prince and many other characters. This book comes with a fully orchestrated CD which can be played as children read along and features flowing text and lively illustrations that really showcase the magic of the story. Many of the children in my studio who already knew of the Nutcracker ballet, whether having seen it live or having performed in a production of it themselves in ballet class, are very fond of this book!

Recommended Age: 4+

2. Symphony City

Children's Music Books, Symphony City - Amy Martin

By: Amy Martin

McSweeney’s McMullens

This book follows the story of a little girl who starts out bored and accidentally gets separated from her mother in the subway and finds herself lost. She wanders through the city and begins to discover that her home is filled with interesting sights and sounds! This book contains little text but features powerful images that express the sounds she hears in beautiful colours, light, textures and moving lines. This is an eye catching book that encourages kids to use their imaginations and to listen – really listen to the beautiful music that exists all around them. An added bonus is that the cover of the book unfolds into a two-sided music poster.

Recommended Age: 3+

3. Can You Hear It?


Children's Music Books, Can You Hear It? - William LachBy: William Lach

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Abrams Books for Young Readers

Can You Hear It? Comes with a CD and introduces well known pieces of classical music through thirteen great works of art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love the way the musical examples are played by a variety of different orchestras and the selections of art and music are diverse. The introduction explains to both children and parents alike how to use the book. It even gives an overview of the instruments that are heard in the musical examples. The art works are printed in a suitably large size and there are little “Can you hear it?” clues that turn the listeners attention to certain aspects of the music. A fantastic book that encourages kids to listen to classical music and makes the connection between visual art and music.

Recommended Age: 3+

4. Port Side Pirates!

Children's Music Books, Port Side Pirates - Oscar Seaworthy

By: Oscar Seaworthy

Illustrated by Debbie Harter

Sung by: Mark Collins

Barefoot Books

Port Side Pirates! Is a song/picture book by Oscar “Seaworthy” (haha!) that comes with a CD and is made available on youtube by Barefoot Books. It has a jaunty little tune with catchy lyrics and engaging illustrations. Kids and adults alike are sure to sing along and may even be inspired to play a game of “pretend pirates”. The end of the book contains some information pages that identify the parts of a pirate ship, facts about pirates and famous pirates. There is even the sheet music to the tune provided, which is simple enough for piano students who are at least in their second year of lessons to read. 

Recommended Age: 2+

5. The Composer is Dead

Children's Music Books, The Composer is Dead - Lemony Snicket

By: Lemony Snicket

Music by: Nathaniel Stookey

Illustrated by: Carson Ellis

Performed by: The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas

If you are familiar with Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events then you will love the dry, ironic, and dark humour of The Composer is Dead. This is a murder mystery book in which it is established that a composer is dead and all the instruments in the orchestra are suspect to the murder. The book comes with a CD in which Lemony Snicket himself narrates while the orchestra plays musical excerpts by Nathaniel Stookey. This is a deliciously delightful book that is sure to get squeals of suspense from kids as they turn the pages.

Recommended Age: 5+