The best books for all the music-loving readers (or book-loving musicians) in your family

Fanny Britt Author Of Forever Truffle
By Fanny Britt

Who am I?

I often (half-) jokingly say that I'm a failed musician. Growing up in Montreal in the eighties, music was my deepest joy. I sang in choirs for years, and even fancied myself the next great baroque singer (I guess I was a nerd.) Nerves, however, got the best of me, and I turned to the next best thing, writing. In my family, music is a meeting place, a shared language; my kids have taught me as much about music as I have taught them. Nothing pleases me more than to see on a playlist of theirs a tune that I listened to before their birth. Music is the golden thread of my life. 


I wrote...

Forever Truffle

By Fanny Britt, Isabelle Arsenault (illustrator), Susan Ouriou (translator)

Book cover of Forever Truffle

What is my book about?

Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault are back with a new graphic novel split in three stories featuring Truffle, a curious, rock-loving redhead.

In “Truffle the Rockstar,” Truffle wants to form a band with his best friends. He's sure they'll wow the crowd with their epic songs... even though they haven't yet learned to play an instrument! In “Truffle Loves Nina,” Truffle is smitten with a classmate and asks around for advice on how to let his heart do the talking. In “Truffle Tackles Existence,” Truffle attends a funeral, which gets him thinking about the world around him. Were grandparents babies once? Does Rocket, the dog that his family had to give up, remember him? Do we stop loving the people we can't see anymore?

The books I picked & why

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Still This Love Goes on

By Buffy Sainte-Marie, Julie Flett (illustrator),

Book cover of Still This Love Goes on

Why this book?

Indigenous singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie is a music legend in Canada. When illustrator Julie Flett decided to turn one of Sainte-Marie's iconic songs, Still This Love Goes On, in a picture album, it was like the song was brought to life in a whole new way. Readers (or the small children the book can be read to) are able to travel through Buffy's poignant lyrics and Julie Flett's moving, evocative illustrations and truly feel what the song is about. Plus, you can listen to the song while you look at the book and hear Buffy's haunting, heart-breaking voice. Seeing music while hearing it? Sounds like a perfect introduction to me. 


Music Legends: 40 inspiring icons

By Hervé Guilleminot, Jérôme Masi (illustrator),

Book cover of Music Legends: 40 inspiring icons

Why this book?

The 7-to-10-year-old set will love this one. My own rock-loving son, who inspired the character of Truffle in our book, was addicted to this series of books (which also includes Black Music Greats: 40 inspiring icons), originally published in France. Both informative and filled with fun facts about the 40 artists selected by the authors (readers will learn about Mod culture through The Who, about how ABBA got their name, or how the Wu-Tang Clan influenced hip hop), the book reads like a cheat sheet on pop and rock music, with vivid and colorful illustrations.   


Operatic

By Kyo Maclear, Byron Eggenschwiler (illustrator),

Book cover of Operatic

Why this book?

A wonderful graphic novel for and about teens, Operatic follows Charlie, a teen girl who must find "her song" for a school project, and embarks on an emotional journey about the meaning of music, friendship, love, and opera. The book, gutting and uplifting all at once, is also an homage to the great Maria Callas, while peppered with pop and rock references. A perfect book for readers 12 and up, by which I mean: up to 30, up to 45, up to 99 years old, as music ties us powerfully with our life story, no matter our age. 


Goodbye Without Leaving

By Laurie Colwin,

Book cover of Goodbye Without Leaving

Why this book?

Moving away from children's and YA literature, Laurie Colwin's Goodbye Without Leaving nonetheless feels like a transitional book to me. When I first discovered Colwin's work, I was in my early twenties and even though most of her books had been written several years before "my time," I felt like she got me like few writers did. The anguish, desires and self-awareness plaguing her characters always felt true and achingly relatable. In Goodbye Without Leaving, Colwin tells the story of Geraldine, who gets hired as a backup singer for a touring band and is led to reflect on what it means to be young—and what it costs to be free. 


Stories I Might Regret Telling You

By Martha Wainwright,

Book cover of Stories I Might Regret Telling You

Why this book?

The McGarrigle Sisters are Montreal legends, and I was raised on a steady diet of their brutally honest folk music. It was only natural that I fall for the music of Kate McGarrigle's daughter, singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright (her father is American songwriter Loudon Wainwright) early on. Her memoir, Stories I Might Regret Telling You, is as compelling, lyrical and candid as her songs and stage presence are. A truly rock-and-roll story filled with adventure and struggle, Martha's journey is also a testament to women's resilience and a plea for leading a creatively fulfilling career without sacrificing family and intimate relationships. Obviously not aimed at teen readers (although I would have devoured it had it fallen into my hands at, say, sixteen), this book will crack any music-loving heart right open.  


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in rock music, opera, and singers?

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Rock Music Explore 129 books about rock music
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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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