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If music be the food of love, play on. It has been proven that making music central to children's learning ensures they reap the benefits the artform can bring to personal growth. Here is a selection of fiction and non-fiction books focusing on music.
This gorgeous picture book from the award-winning Sophie Henn is about finding the music in you. With music for every mood it's the perfect way to get to know all kinds of emotions. The rousing rhythmic text that gets you singing along is complemented by Henn's stunning bold, bright, fun and funky illustrative style. Love is all around us and we understand that all kinds of different rhythms make up me and you. It's a beautifully executed, important and reassuring guide about emotion that will really help open up conversations about our own emotions and recognising feelings in others. If you have never stopped to think about the different kinds of music that make you, you...then read this book and celebrate all parts of you and your soundtrack.
Romantic love, family love, friend love, and selflove — Ebony LaDelle’s Love Radio debut is an uplifting joy, with two adorable teen characters teetering on the cusp of adulthood while dealing with big problems from the past, and questions about the future. Dani definitely isn’t looking for love. Not after what happened when her former friend left her alone with that college boy. And not when she’s so set on going to college and becoming a writer. A writer with the impact of her heroines, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and bell hooks. Meanwhile, Prince (AKA DJ LoveJones), is obsessed with music, and offers love advice on his hugely popular radio show around caring for his sick mom and adorable little brother Mook. When they meet, the fiery sparks can’t be ignored, so Dani agrees to giving Prince three dates to convince her not to swear off love. Cue a stack of sweetness from Prince (the dates he comes up with are so, so thoughtful), and Dani doing a whole lot of soul-searching. Alongside delivering a beautiful, exhilarating love story, the author weaves in Black history, and shows the power of kids seeing themselves represented in books. It also offers gorgeous representations of family love, support, respect and fun gatherings that allow everyone to thrive. All of which means Love Radio is inspirational, empowering, and super-sweet — what’s not to love?
Music can carry the stories of history like a message in a bottle. Lord Kitchener, Neneh Cherry, Smiley Culture, Stormzy . . . Groundbreaking musicians whose songs have changed the world. But how? This exhilarating playlist tracks some of the key shifts in modern British history, and explores the emotional impact of 28 songs and the artists who performed them. This book redefines British history, the Empire and postcolonialism, and will invite you to think again about the narratives and key moments in history that you have been taught up to now. Thrilling, urgent, entertaining and thought-provoking, this beautifully illustrated companion to modern black music is a revelation and a delight.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2022 | A sweet and gentle story capturing a very special friendship that develops between a panda and a little boy who are brought together by a captivating tune. Chi is a shy panda who lives a quiet life listening to all the sounds of the beautiful forest around her home. One day as she listens she hears the sound of lyrical music weaving its way through the mist. Following the sound takes her to its source: a small boy blowing on a bamboo. How Chi and the little boy become friends and help each other is a touching story set in an evocatively created, soft focused forest of bamboo. You can find more books with this theme in our Collection of Brilliant Books about Friendship
Longlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2022 | | The lives of the inhabitants of a small town are transformed by music in this elegant picture book. The music pours out of a small window high up in the eaves of a house – readers can see it, a stream of flowers, blossom and delicate leaves. The melody banishes a young boy’s loneliness, makes an old lady feel lively and full of joy, gives everyone the thing they are missing and prompts kindness and generosity. When the music suddenly stops, the townspeople work together to help the musician, whose identity will surprise everyone. This gentle story celebrates the power of music in all our lives, as well as the importance of community and love. The illustrations come as close as you can get to a visual representation of music and are full of warmth and fellowship.
This picture book tells the tale of a prince and a kidnapped princess, of a cheeky bird catcher, a warring king and queen, and of a magic flute. It is of course the story of perhaps the most famous opera of all, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and not only does the book cleverly condense the action into picture book form, but it allows readers to experience snatches of the music too. There are buttons on each page which, when pressed, play excerpts of the score, performed by orchestra and singers. There’s a short biography of Mozart on the final page to spark more interest in him and his music, a glossary and more information on the music, and what to listen out for. The illustrations are lively and full of detail, and this is a thoroughly charming first introduction to opera.
Think opera and young children don’t go together? Think again! This liveliest of histories introduces children to Mozart, Rossini and Beethoven and their work, in an engaging and informative tour of the Classical period. It’s all facilitated through magical time travel: best friends Megan and Jack are on a school trip in London when they suddenly find themselves whisked back in time to eighteenth century Europe. Before you can say semibreve, they are face to face with composers and some famous royals too in a hectic adventure that is packed full of musical facts and information. Illustrations by Karl Davies do even more to bring the composers vividly to life. Wunderkind Mozart is bound to emerge the favourite but expect young readers to demand more information on the featured composers and to listen to their music too. Bravo!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2021 | Gaspard the Fox is back for a third wonderful adventure and this time he takes a trip right across London and finds himself on the stage at a concert in Hyde Park! From his hiding place on a number 38 bus, Gaspard gives a wonderful commentary on the sights he sees. There’s the delicious smells of China Town, the bustling crowds of Piccadilly Circus and the beautiful windows of Fortum and Masons. Gaspard loves it all but he can’t let himself be distracted as he has to get off the bus with his friends Honey and Finty. He almost misses the stop but gets off just in time to find himself having a starring role in the Proms in the Park! This foxy fantasy is full of good humour and cheer as well as being a wonderful musical celebration.
February 2021 Debut of the Month | The lives of the inhabitants of a small town are transformed by music in this elegant picture book. The music pours out of a small window high up in the eaves of a house – readers can see it, a stream of flowers, blossom and delicate leaves. The melody banishes a young boy’s loneliness, makes an old lady feel lively and full of joy, gives everyone the thing they are missing and prompts kindness and generosity. When the music suddenly stops, the townspeople work together to help the musician, whose identity will surprise everyone. This gentle story celebrates the power of music in all our lives, as well as the importance of community and love. The illustrations come as close as you can get to a visual representation of music and are full of warmth and fellowship.
Press the note to hear Saint-Saens' music | Discover the magical world of Carnival of the Animals in this musical reimagining of this celebrated suite for children - push the button in each breathtaking scene to hear the vivid sound of an orchestra playing from Camille Saint-Saens' score. You can find more wintry & festive stories in our Best Books for Kids this Christmas collection!
With all the sparkle of her jewel-encrusted costumes, this terrific book is an access all areas biography of one of the most high-profile, high-achieving women in the world today, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. It begins at her first public performance, age 7, at a school talent contest. Despite her nerves, Beyoncé stole the show and won the competition – the first of many awards she would receive (23 Grammys at the last count). But as the book explains, Beyoncé’s was anything but overnight success – wow, has she worked hard, pouring everything into her career. It’s a fascinating and inspiring story and told so that readers will feel they are there with her, experiencing the stage-fright, the disappointment of losing her first record deal and her determination to make her way on her own terms.It’s super-readable, helped by black and white illustrations on every page, including lots of Beyoncé, in which she addresses us direct. With real insight as well as all the facts, this is a great series and Ms Knowles-Carter’s story a terrific addition to it.
There are lots of reasons for getting yourself a copy of this lively, charming picture book! Not only is it a bright, fun way to tell children about different animals, it’s also a bright, fun way to get children moving, stretching and enjoying themselves. Pages of information about animals, from flamingos to chimpanzees, are matched by illustrated encouragements to copy their movements – stretch out your wings like a flamingo, scuttle sideways like a crab, wiggle your bottom like a bee! The text is great for reading aloud with a bouncy rhythm and the pictures are just as full of life. This is guaranteed to get everyone jumping up and joining in!
There are adventures galore in the second episode of this new series starring little mermaid Marnie and her friends and family. This time the action is all to do with the annual entertainment extravaganza that is the Clamshell Show. Marnie really wants the part of Queen Maretta, but so does her friend Orla, and nasty new mergirl, show-off Gilly Seaflower too. When the curtain finally goes up, there’s as much drama behind the scenes as on stage, and the sudden surprise appearance of a human! Marnie and her friends are very appealing characters – naughty aunt Christabel is a hoot – and their underwater world very tempting. Pretty illustrations by Sheena Dempsey add to the all-round charm. Young readers should dive in straightaway. Fans of The Worst Witch will enjoy the lively stories in Mermaid School, and readers who like Marnie should get to know Lyla, star of Rebecca Patterson’s new Moon Girl series too.
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