The most recommended singing books

Who picked these books? Meet our 12 experts.

12 authors created a book list connected to singing, and here are their favorite singing books.
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Book cover of Fairest

Elizabeth Lowham Author Of Beauty Reborn

From my list on giving new life to old fairy tales.

Why am I passionate about this?

My debut novel is a Beauty and the Beast retelling because I’ve been obsessed with fairy tales all my life, and I’m thrilled to share some of my favorite retellings with you! When I was a child, my grandma gave me an illustrated collection of fairy tales. She had grown up reading stories from Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm brothers, and she wanted to share that with me. It was an interest I gladly adopted. I love seeing my favorite fairy tales told with new twists and elements that bring the stories to life all over again and let me fall in love with them one more time.

Elizabeth's book list on giving new life to old fairy tales

Elizabeth Lowham Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Gail Carson Levine has been one of my favorite authors all my life. She and my maternal grandmother are jointly responsible for my deep obsession with fairy tales.

While Ella Enchanted is more well known, Fairest is my favorite of her fairy tale novels. It’s a Snow White retelling that made me truly fall in love with the main character. Aza’s insecurities felt real to me, and I loved the twist that she is not fairest in all the land because of looks but, rather, because of her voice.

This story breaks me down and builds me back up again. I’ve reread it many times and intend to reread it many more.

By Gail Carson Levine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fairest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to be pretty ...Aza's singing is the fairest in all the land, and the most unusual. She can "throw" her voice so it seems to come from anywhere. But singing is only one of the two qualities prized in the Kingdom of Ayortha. Aza doesn't possess the other: beauty. Not even close. She's hidden in the shadows in her parents' inn, but when she becomes lady-in-waiting to the new queen, she has to step into the light-especially when the queen demands a dangerous favor. A magic mirror, a charming prince,…


Book cover of The Light Between Worlds

Emily Golus Author Of Escape to Vindor

From my list on clean fantasy reads to take your breath away.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a fantasy author and an obsessive world builder (my World of Vindor has 12 diverse nations developed over 20 years), and I love cinematic fantasy that places realistic people in exotic settings. To me, the best fantasy is beautiful in its own right—not merely allegory—but asks deep questions and influences the way we approach real life. I choose to write clean fantasy (without graphic violence, sexual situations, or profanity) to keep my work accessible to readers of all ages and sensitivity levels. The likewise clean fantasy books below have all moved me in some way, helping me see the world around me in a wondrous new light. 

Emily's book list on clean fantasy reads to take your breath away

Emily Golus Why did Emily love this book?

One night, during a Blitzkrieg attack on London, the Hapwell siblings are whisked away to the fantastical Woodlands. There they spend the next several years helping the great stag Cervus defend Palace Beautiful. But it’s when the siblings return to their own world that their real troubles begin. Pining for the Woodlands debilitates Evelyn, the youngest Hapwell, and she can no longer navigate life at boarding school or maintain relationships. Can her older sister Philippa stop Evelyn from falling to pieces, all while battling her own demons? This beautiful narrative takes us deep into the complexity of grief and guilt, and explores the heartbreak of trying to rescue a loved one who doesn’t want help.

By Laura E. Weymouth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Light Between Worlds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

What happens when you return to the real world after
living in a fantasy one? Perfect for fans of Holly Black and Brigid
Kemmerer.
'I loved this beautiful book!' Melissa Albert,
New York Times bestselling author of The Hazel Wood

'Transfixing and unforgettable.' Sara Holland,
New York Times bestselling author of Everless

'Doesn't let go until the last, stunning sentence.' Amy
Ewing, author of The Jewel

Six years ago, sisters Evie and Philippa were swept away to a
strange and beautiful kingdom called the Woodlands, where they lived
for years. Now, returned to the real world, they must come to…


Book cover of Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation

Ellen Dee Davidson Author Of Wind

From my list on middle-grade and young adult environmental fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up playing in nature: body surfing the waves in Southern California, backpacking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, swimming in rivers. For the past thirty years, I’ve lived in the redwoods of Northern California. Spending so much time in the peace and beauty of nature has filled me with joy and deep respect for the incredibly interconnectedness of living ecosystems. I’ve also had a lifelong passion for reading, especially fairy tales, fables and fantasies. Combining nature and fantasy in my writing allows me to explore ideas and inspirations about how we can live in harmony on our one beautiful planet.

Ellen's book list on middle-grade and young adult environmental fantasy

Ellen Dee Davidson Why did Ellen love this book?

Soon to be a musical, this enchanting story is about an eleven-year-old girl who doesn’t know she can sing until she gets to know an oak tree in her garden, Annie Oakly, who becomes her best friend and is actually a tree spirit. As the story unfolds, and Emma is confronted with family troubles, she learns of her own vital role in saving the trees; Emma must sing! 

I’m recommending this book because of my own love for both trees and music. In fact, I often sing to the redwoods where I live and sometimes imagine they are singing along with their rustling squeaks and creaks. The author tells a story grounded in everyday problems, such as living with a grandmother with dementia, while bringing the fantastical and magical world of nature vividly alive.

By Susan Elizabeth Hale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eleven-year-old Emma doesn't know that she comes from generations of tree singers, passed from mother to daughter. She doesn't believe she can sing. Her ailing grandmother has just come to live with the family. Her father is hardly ever at home. Her mother has been acting strange. To add to Emma's troubles, her mother's great uncle from England is coming to stay. Then, a strange old woman wearing a hat full of feathers appears mysteriously in her garden. She gives Emma a white swan feather that emits a haunting melody. Emma's only solace is the oak tree in her garden,…


Book cover of The Grand Tradition: Seventy Years of Singing on Record

Nick Limansky Author Of Early 20th Century Opera Singers: Their Voices and Recordings from 1900-1949

From my list on historical opera singers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been a professional singer for about five decades and having grown up with, and studied the early recordings of operatic singers for just as long, I feel that I am in an unusual position when it comes to analyzing their art. The ability to describe a singer’s voice on paper is a unique challenge but one that I enjoy solving–especially since each voice is a law unto itself. When done correctly, analysis like this should make the reader want to go and find the recording so that they can listen for themselves. This is especially true for my expanded Kindle version of Early 20th Century Opera Singers.

Nick's book list on historical opera singers

Nick Limansky Why did Nick love this book?

J.B. Steane’s massive book, over 600 pages, is one of the most comprehensive books on historical singers ever written. My copy is riddled with text underlining and notes in the margins. His evaluations of singers are always honest, but fair. I have read this book at least 3 times and have re-read sections many more times. It invaluable.

By J.B. Steane,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Grand Tradition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before the gramophone could do justice to an orchestra, it was able to reproduce the human voice with comparative fidelity. Steane examines the great mass of singing on record and follows the fortunes of modern singers as well as old, in song, opera, and choral singing. This corrected second edition includes a preface and bibliography.


Book cover of The Sweetest Sound

Jennifer Gennari Author Of Muffled

From my list on middle-grade about kids making music.

Why am I passionate about this?

In fifth grade, I chose to play the clarinet. After a lot of cracked reeds and squeaky notes, I switched to choir. I still love to sing! I love books that explore young people’s first experiences with music, whether it’s as a star or as a way to express one’s true self. Music takes many forms, and for me, that includes the arrangement of sounds in a sentence. When I write for young people, I look for the musicality of words, how they flow, and how variety can make a story pop. Try reading aloud your own work or a favorite book and listen to the rhythm of language.

Jennifer's book list on middle-grade about kids making music

Jennifer Gennari Why did Jennifer love this book?

When you have a stunning gospel-singing voice that nobody expects, what would you do?

This is a sweet story about ten-year-old Cadence whose mother left her when she was little; as a result, her father and the whole community babies her and calls her Mouse.

She embodies that label by never speaking up for what she wants (like a small birthday party) and by never singing with her full voice. When a new church music director invites students to audition, Cadence uploads a video of herself singing to the wrong website—and it goes viral.

When her friend asks her to pretend that she’s the “gospel girl,” Cadence finally decides to claim her talent and sing.

By Sherri Winston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sweetest Sound as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

For ten-year-old Cadence Jolly, birthdays are a constant reminder of all that has changed since her mother skipped town with dreams of becoming a star. Cadence inherited that musical soul, she can't deny it, but otherwise she couldn't be more different - she's shy as can be.

She did make a promise last year that she would try to break out of her shell, just a little. And she prayed that she'd get the courage to do it. As her eleventh birthday draws near, she realizes time is running out. And when a secret recording of her singing leaks and…


Book cover of The Record of Singing Vol. 1

Nick Limansky Author Of Early 20th Century Opera Singers: Their Voices and Recordings from 1900-1949

From my list on historical opera singers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been a professional singer for about five decades and having grown up with, and studied the early recordings of operatic singers for just as long, I feel that I am in an unusual position when it comes to analyzing their art. The ability to describe a singer’s voice on paper is a unique challenge but one that I enjoy solving–especially since each voice is a law unto itself. When done correctly, analysis like this should make the reader want to go and find the recording so that they can listen for themselves. This is especially true for my expanded Kindle version of Early 20th Century Opera Singers.

Nick's book list on historical opera singers

Nick Limansky Why did Nick love this book?

A remarkable tracing of the evolution of singing throughout the decades. Occasionally Scott is dismissive, (sometimes of the most famous singers) but his remarks are always intriguing and thought-provoking. Through his text, Scott causes one to re-evaluate some of the most famous singers and the reason for their fame.

Book cover of Clever Girl Finance: Ditch Debt, Save Money and Build Real Wealth

Cindy Zuniga-Sanchez Author Of Overcoming Debt, Achieving Financial Freedom: 8 Pillars to Build Wealth

From my list on starting your journey to financial freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I graduated law school in 2015 with over $200,000 of debt. As the daughter of immigrants, born and raised in a low-income community in the Bronx, I was overwhelmed by how little I knew about money. I turned to books to build healthy money management habits, improve my credit, and, importantly, pay down my debt. I have since read dozens of personal finance books, built a community of over 60,000 on social media, and spoken to audiences nationwide about personal finance. Given the impact that books have had on my journey, I wrote my own from the perspective of a first-generation Latina that went from six figures of debt to a six-figure net worth. 

Cindy's book list on starting your journey to financial freedom

Cindy Zuniga-Sanchez Why did Cindy love this book?

When I started my financial freedom journey, I discovered the Clever Girl Finance platform and gained great value from their blog posts and resources. When their book was released, I immediately picked it up because I needed guidance and encouragement in my journey to pay off over $200,000 of debt. This book provides actionable tips on how to create a debt freedom plan and, importantly, how to stick to the plan. I appreciated its balanced approach, which emphasized rewarding yourself (even in small ways) during the journey and managing your debt-free goals alongside your other financial goals. 

By Bola Sokunbi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Clever Girl Finance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Take charge of your finances and achieve financial independence - the Clever Girl way

Join the ranks of thousands of smart and savvy women who have turned to money expert and author Bola Sokunbi for guidance on ditching debt, saving money, and building real wealth. Sokunbi, the force behind the hugely popular Clever Girl Finance website, draws on her personal money mistakes and financial redemption to educate and empower a new generation of women on their journey to financial freedom. Lighthearted and accessible, Clever Girl Finance encourages women to talk about money and financial wellness and shows them how to…


Book cover of Skinny

Traci L. Jones Author Of Silhouetted by the Blue

From my list on shedding a light on mental illness.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of the reasons I wanted to write about and explore mental health was because I was always fascinated by how the mind works and how it can turn on you without provocation. How and why some people can power through dark times, while others struggle is a topic that, within the African American community, isn't frequently discussed.  Often the advice given to someone about how to get through depression or anxiety is to pray or just dig deep and power through. It is the idea that because our ancestors suffered so much, those of us living in "easier" times should have nothing to be sad about that seems to prevent us from asking for help or getting therapy. 

Traci's book list on shedding a light on mental illness

Traci L. Jones Why did Traci love this book?

Cooner takes on body dysmorphia in a new and unusual way. Ever once weighed over three hundred pounds but even after gastric bypass surgery she continues to hear the voice in her head, Skinny. Skinny constantly tells Ever that she’s still fat, and therefore unworthy. Even with her continuing weight loss, Skinny tells Ever she’s worthless, unwanted, and disposable. It’s not until Ever confronts her self-doubt that she begins to truly heal mentally. I liked how Cooner gave Ever’s body dysmorphia a literal voice. I feel like many girls with eating disorders would relate to having such a toxic voice in their heads. 

By Donna Cooner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Skinny as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

This novel kickstarted a national conversation on weight, beauty, and transformation. In it, we meet Ever, a fifteen-year-old girl who weighs over 300 pounds and is haunted by a voice in her head she calls "Skinny." Skinny tells Ever she is ugly. Fat. Unlovable. And Ever believes her. When Ever makes the controversial choice to have gastric bypass surgery, she does start losing weight and gains the interest of boys...but Skinny is still there, louder than before. Ever will need to confront that voice before she can truly find, and accept, her own.


Book cover of I'm Wearing Tunics Now: On Growing Older, Better, and a Hell of a Lot Louder

Jane Roper Author Of The Society of Shame

From my list on middle-aged women that will make you snort laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of two novels, a memoir, and numerous essays and humor pieces. As a reader, I’ve always been drawn to strong, flawed, funny female characters and voices. The pull is even stronger now that I’m at midlife, a phase that’s equal parts misery, hilarity, and night sweats. I read a wide range of books, from literary fiction and classics to psychological thrillers to graphic novels that I steal from my teenagers when they’re not looking. But I have a special place in my heart for books that explore the many facets of what it means to be a woman “of a certain age” today, while making me laugh—and sometimes cringe—with recognition. 

Jane's book list on middle-aged women that will make you snort laugh

Jane Roper Why did Jane love this book?

I’ve enjoyed Wendy Aaron’s humor writing for years, but even if I hadn’t, I think I would have bought this book based on the title alone. I’m Wearing Tunics Now is a hilarious memoir about the absurdities, indignities, and, yes, benefits of being a middle-aged woman. If you’re Gen-X or thereabouts, you will totally relate to the humor and references. The book includes a lot of funny lists, in the style of McSweeney’s, so it’s the kind of read you can pick up and enjoy in bite-sized pieces.

By Wendi Aarons,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I'm Wearing Tunics Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An honest and hilarious memoir about second acts, self-acceptance, and celebrating what happens when a woman gets older, wiser, and a lot more excited by sales at Eileen Fisher.

A late bloomer who came to her career later in life, humorist Wendi Aarons shares the joys, stumbles, and outfit mishaps she’s experienced on her road to no longer giving a f***. It's a journey from chunky heels and bad choices from the juniors department to the panache of a comfortable linen tunic (metaphorically, but also literally), enjoying her second act and unapologetically chasing her dreams. With relatable personal anecdotes, an…


Book cover of The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!

Christy Mihaly Author Of Free for You and Me: What Our First Amendment Means

From my list on children's books for human rights and civic engagement.

Why am I passionate about this?

I practiced law for more than twenty years before becoming an author. After writing several children's science books, in 2016 I turned to writing about civics and government. The internet was overflowing with politicians' misstatements about the Constitution, and I realized many Americans didn't understand fundamental democratic principles. I decided to write a book addressing kids, to help them appreciate their rights, obligations, and powers under the Constitution. In Free for You and Me, I focused on the First Amendment. I believe that talking with young people about the issues raised in all the books listed here will help us raise our kids to be informed and engaged community members.

Christy's book list on children's books for human rights and civic engagement

Christy Mihaly Why did Christy love this book?

While I'm a big fan of nonfiction, I had to include this fabulous tale. With its folktale-style illustrations, the book recounts how the joyful and very noisy village of La Paz decides there's too much commotion. The villagers elect Don Pepe as mayor when he pledges to bring peace and quiet. Then new edicts go out: "No Singing."

When Rooster moves into the silent village and starts his song, things get interesting. Children will appreciate the courage and commitment of the obstinate rooster who remains faithful to his song in the face of Don Pepe's escalating threats and punishments. And ultimately the villagers come out in support of the rooster. Because, as he says, a song never dies as long as there's someone to sing it. This is a delightful fable about freedom of expression, the perils of authoritarianism, and using your voice against mean and bossy people.

By Carmen Agra Deedy, Eugene Yelchin (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Pura Belpre Honoree Carmen Agra Deedy and Newbery Honor-book author/illustrator Eugene Yelchin have created a powerful tale that celebrates the spirit of freedom.

La Paz is a happy, but noisy village. A little peace and quiet would make it just right. So the villagers elect the bossy Don Pepe as their mayor. Before long, singing of any kind is outlawed. Even the teakettle is afraid to whistle!But there is one noisy rooster who doesn't give two mangos about this mayor's silly rules. Instead, he does what roosters were born to do.He sings: "Kee-kee-ree-KEE!" Carmen Deedy's masterfully crafted allegory and Eugene…