The best books to introduce kids to music

Who am I?

I’ve been playing the violin since I was 3, so as of 2022, it’s been 15 years. I believe that music unifies, and is a catalyst for social change, social justice, and equity. I’ve written two children’s books about different powers of music: Bailey Brings Her Friends Together with Music and The Aria in Me. With both of these books, I donate 100% of my proceeds to Kidznotes, a local North Carolinian organization, which provides underserved youth ensemble-based music instruction for personal, social, academic, and musical development and growth. I chose this list to inspire and captivate young readers and hopefully help them fall in love with music. :)

I wrote...

Bailey Brings Her Friends Together with Music

By Kali Bate,

Book cover of Bailey Brings Her Friends Together with Music

What is my book about?

Seven-year-old Bailey finds herself in the middle of a fight over the last pair of ice skates while visiting the Rockefeller Center in NYC. As the kids fight and fight, it seems like a perfect holiday on the ice will be ruined. But then, Bailey discovers a group of musicians playing beautiful melodies nearby. Will Bailey be able to use the power of music to end the fight and bring holiday cheer to all? 100% of all sale proceeds are donated to Kidznotes, a North Carolina non-profit organization that empowers students to thrive with the power of music.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

A Child's Introduction to the Orchestra: Listen to 37 Selections While You Learn about the Instruments, the Music, and the Composers Who Wrote the Music

By Robert Levine, Meredith Hamilton (illustrator),

Book cover of A Child's Introduction to the Orchestra: Listen to 37 Selections While You Learn about the Instruments, the Music, and the Composers Who Wrote the Music

Why this book?

This engaging book introduces classical music to children in an interactive and brilliant way. By providing readers with hilarious stories about musicians, composers, and conductors while introducing instruments, composers, and musical pieces, the children become exposed to history and the classical music world. Readers also have access to musical examples through audio tracks provided in the book. I introduced my young cousin to classical music with this book, and he became fascinated with the cello and ultimately joined his school orchestra.

Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma

By Joanna Ho, Teresa Martinez (illustrator),

Book cover of Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma

Why this book?

Yo-Yo Ma has always been such a role model and inspiration for me. I passionately believe that music is a unifying force, bridging differences. This picture book provides a lens into Yo-Yo Ma’s legacy, passion, and heart in a poetic and illustrative manner. I read this book to a kindergarten class and they were drawn into the story and even requested to listen and watch some of his performances.

Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla

By Diana López,

Book cover of Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla

Why this book?

This inspiring picture book explores and celebrates Selena’s life while underscoring the struggles she overcame in both her personal life and the music industry. It is often hard to find books with representation, but this story invites all children to follow their dreams. I gave this book to my friend’s sister who truly became empowered by López’s writing and Selena’s story and ultimately told me how she wants to learn how to sing because of her. Representation matters!

The Story Orchestra: The Magic Flute

By Katy Flint, Jessica Courtney-Tickle (illustrator),

Book cover of The Story Orchestra: The Magic Flute

Why this book?

The Magic Flute is my absolute favorite opera, and I remember the countless hours I spent listening to songs on CDs. For my birthday one year, my parents gave me a movie of a live performance of The Magic Flute by the Metropolitan Opera, and I watched the movie at least 10 times. Thus, when I found this book on the bookshelf of my library, I knew I had to sit down and read it. I became immersed in the book, following along with Prince Tamino and his journey while listening to the excerpts of the opera recorded in the pages. The tale captivates the readers and introduces them to the world of music. 

The Music of Life

By Louisa Thomas,

Book cover of The Music of Life

Why this book?

As a musician, I hear everyday sounds as music: the tritone intervals of an ambulance, the rhythm of coffee dripping, bird calls, the fluctuation of laughter, etc. This picture book follows Lenny, a composer, who stops and listens to sounds of daily life which gives him inspiration for his own compositions. This picture book reveals how music is truly the sound of life.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in sound, orchestras, and music?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about sound, orchestras, and music.

Sound Explore 16 books about sound
Orchestras Explore 5 books about orchestras
Music Explore 74 books about music

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Allegro, Listen to the Birds, and Because if you like this list.