The best picture books that sing!

Gary Golio Author Of Sonny Rollins Plays the Bridge
By Gary Golio

The Books I Picked & Why

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson

By Pam Muñoz Ryan, Brian Selznick

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson

Why this book?

A timeless tale of artistic and moral courage on the part of a legendary singer (Marian Anderson, 1897-1993) and an unforgettable First Lady (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962). Particularly relevant today, the text and illustrations highlight both the power of Art in a public setting--The Lincoln Memorial, 1939, with an integrated audience of 75,000 people--and the heart-centered activism of two remarkable women who effected a shift in the national consciousness.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum

By Robert Andrew Parker

Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum

Why this book?

Winner of the prestigious Schneider Award, Parker's text and artwork celebrate the genius of the great Art Tatum - who just happened to be blind. The words are poignant and effective, but it is Parker's watercolor paintings that glow and amaze with a balance of sophistication and childlike elegance. In short, a master of one medium is being honored by another. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Django: World's Greatest Jazz Guitarist

By Bonnie Christensen

Django: World's Greatest Jazz Guitarist

Why this book?

Bonnie was as beloved as her exquisite books, and this is one of my favorites (she also did one on Elvis). I miss this lady, but her work remains and Django is a marvelous tribute to one of the most unique and accomplished acoustic guitarists of all time. Reinhardt's story is inspiring because of his success as a Gypsy/Roma musician, but also because of how he became so masterful after a tragic accident that injured his hands. All about what passion can do in the face of difficult circumstances. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Stand Up and Sing!: Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice

By Susanna Reich, Adam Gustavson

Stand Up and Sing!: Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice

Why this book?

Susanna is an award-winning writer of many picture book bios, but I have a special fondness for this one about Pete Seeger, a standout musician, activist, and human being. Adam Gustavson's marvelous acrylic paintings are a perfect backdrop for a beautifully-written text about a man who believed in the power of Music, and who dedicated his life to the cause of civil and social equality for all Americans. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph

By Roxane Orgill, Francis Vallejo

Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph

Why this book?

Deservedly, this book received 6 starred reviews for a superb pairing of text and artwork recounting the story of a historic photograph. Taken in 1958 for Esquire Magazine, A Great Day in Harlem captured the gathering of outstanding jazz musicians on a city street, and Orgill's book brings the magic of that summer day to life for young readers. How I wish this idea had been mine! ;]


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists