Art, Music, and Dance: Books for Young Children

These books celebrate diverse expressions and forms of art, music, and dance from across the country and around the world. It won't take long for little ones to tap their toes and create new masterpieces after reading these gems!

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A Tisket, a Tasket

Illustrated by: Ora Eitan
Age Level: 3-6

The song made famous by jazz great Ella Fitzgerald in the 1930s has been re-created, re-energized and newly presented in a picture book version. Sprightly cut paper collage illustrations show two children losing and ultimately finding both a lost basket and a friendship.

Bravo

Illustrated by: Rene King Moreno
Age Level: 0-3
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

Two children go outdoors to collect musical instruments for a joyful parade and are joined by friends. The children march, play, and sing to the delight of their families. Simple words in English and Spanish combine with soft illustrations for a satisfying story.

Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México

Age Level: 6-9

Danza! is a celebration of Hernández’s life and of the rich history of dance in Mexico. As a child, Amalia always thought she would grow up to be a teacher, until she saw a performance of dancers in her town square. She was fascinated by the way the dancers twirled and swayed, and she knew that someday she would be a dancer, too. She began to study many different types of dance, including ballet and modern, under some of the best teachers in the world. Hernández traveled throughout Mexico studying and learning regional dances.

Diez Deditos and Other Play Rhymes and Action Songs from Latin America

Illustrated by: Elisa Kleven
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

This bilingual collection of finger rhymes and action songs highlights the richness of the Latin American culture to support a child's language development, listening skills and basic concepts. Your kids will have fun singing, clapping, dancing and enjoying vibrant themes such as languages, parts of the body, animals, sounds and musical instruments. This collection also teaches kids the importance of family and self-esteem. Lyrics are presented in both English and Spanish, and easy-to-follow musical accompaniment and diagrams for the corresponding actions are also provided.

Drummer Boy of John John

Illustrated by: Frané Lessac
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Carnival is coming, and the villagers of John John, Trinidad, are getting ready to celebrate. Best of all, the Roti King has promised free rotis — tasty fried pancakes filled with chicken, herbs, and spices — for the best band in the parade. Young Winston dreams of feasting on those delicious rotis. But there's a problem: he's not in a band! Pondering his predicament as he wanders through the village junkyard, Winston makes a curious musical discovery that may be just the ticket to realizing his dream.

Every Little Thing

Illustrated by: Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Age Level: 0-3

Now in board book, Every Little Thing brings Bob Marley's beloved song to life "Three Little Birds" for a new generation. Every family will relate to this universal story of a boy who won't let anything get him down, as long as he has the help of three special little birds. Including all the lyrics of the original song plus new verses, this cheerful book will bring a smile to faces of all ages — because every little thing's gonna be all right.

Harlem's Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills

Illustrated by: Christian Robinson
Age Level: 3-6

Bold, bright illustrations and a cheerful text that includes song lyrics introduce the life of an early 20th century African American performer. Though part of the Harlem Renaissance, Mills is a relative unknown who both on and off stage worked to help other African Americans and those who were less fortunate than she. An author's note concludes this charming life sketch.

Hush! A Thai Lullaby

Illustrated by: Holly Meade
Age Level: 0-3

A loving mother asks animals from a water buffalo to a lizard to "hush" so her baby can sleep. Once the noises stop, the mother herself sleeps — and the baby is now awake! Textured illustrations evoke the Thai setting and convey the understated humor of this unique bedtime book.

It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw

By: Don Tate
Illustrated by: Gregory Christie
Age Level: 6-9

A former slave and sharecropper Bill Traylor moved to the city after his wife's death. Though he stored up memories of farm life and family, Traylor only began creating art in his 80s when he was homeless. Another artist, Charles Shannon, championed Traylor's work. Traylor is now considered among the most significant of self-taught folk artists.

Jazz Baby

Age Level: 3-6

Lively language and colorful illustrations are sure to get children (and adults!) out of their seats as the music and instruments come alive and an animated party begins.

Kenya's Song

Illustrated by: Pamela Johnson
Age Level: 3-6

Kenya is looking for a favorite song to share with her class. She and her father attend a Caribbean music festival in search of it — but Kenya doesn't find it there. Instead, she creates an original song that celebrates everyone's music! Realistic illustrations suggest Kenya's glimpse into other cultures and her own creativity.

Let It Shine: Three Favorite Spirituals

Age Level: 3-6

Three well known spirituals, "This Little Light of Mine," "When the Saints Go Marching In," and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," have been interpreted in vivid, jewel-toned illustrations and presented in a large format for a new generation. A bit of information about the songs' history as well as musical notation for each are included.

Little Elephants / Elefantitos

Age Level: 3-6

This children’s book is based on the song “Un elefante se balanceaba”, a traditional Mexican counting song. It teaches little ones how to count to five plus serves as the perfect bedtime story.

Little Mice / Ratoncitos

Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

Little Mice / Ratoncitos is a children's board book is based on the song Cinco ratoncitos de colita gris, a beloved finger-play song from Latin America. The book tells the story of five playful mice on a mission: to find and eat as much cheese as they possibly can before they get caught by the cat for lunch!

Little Sunny Sunshine / Sol Solecito

Age Level: 3-6

Sing, laugh, and play along with this interactive, bilingual board book that's inspired by a traditional Colombian folk song. Each day of the week, Piggy loves to play outside with little sunny sunshine/sol solecito, and he loves admiring the moon when the day is done.

Market Day: A Story Told with Folk Art

Age Level: 3-6

It's market day! Everyone's going to the town square for a farmers market like no other — and you're invited to come along. Lois Ehlert's Market Day takes you on a colorful journey around the world in a fun story told with folk art.

Music Time

Illustrated by: Shirley Ng-Benitez
Age Level: 3-6

Henry dreams of becoming a rock star drummer and practices at home whenever he can. One day while Henry is drumming, his mom has to work, and asks him to stop playing. Henry decides to go outside to play his drum and he sees his friends. Henry wants to keep practicing, but he also wants to play with his friends. By playing Freeze Dance, he can do both. And when his mother finishes work that evening, they figure out how to enjoy music together too.

My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz

Illustrated by: Rafael López

The beautiful artwork of this award-winning picture book about salsa queen Celia Cruz practically jumps off the page, and conveys the spirit and rhythmic energy of her music. Learn about Cruz's childhood in Havana and her entry into the world of salsa music from vibrant illustrations and text presented in English and Spanish.

My Tata's Guitar

When a little boy explores his grandfather's garage, he finds a treasure — his grandfather's old guitar. He learns that the guitar has provided the music for Christmas posadas, love songs, and campfires. Nothing is more exciting for the boy, however, than the moment that his grandfather offers to teach him how to play his guitar. The story and illustrations offer a lovely tribute to Latino families and traditions. Bilingual text.

Niimiwin: Everyone Dance

Age Level: 3-6

Join the children of Fond du Lac Head Start as they celebrate the Ojibwe culture through the ancient tradition of the Powwow. This book gives the reader a look at the Powwow from preparation through to the Grand Entry, the dancing, the feast and an invitation to Native and non-Native alike to "see you at the next year's Powwow." — Birchbark Books

So Many Sounds

Illustrated by: Andy J. Miller
Age Level: 3-6

A wonderful rhyming read-aloud featuring everyday sounds and a refrain that children will love repeating. The playful text and illustrations are sure to delight little ones while also inviting them to pay more attention to the world around them.

The Best Mariachi in the World

Illustrated by: Dani Jones
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Everyone in Gustavo's family is in a mariachi band…Everyone except Gustavo, that is. They all play violines, trompetas and guitarrones. They all make wonderful music in restaurants and at wedding parties. Gustavo would love to join the band, but he can't play any of the instruments. What's a wannabe mariachi to do? Follow Gustavo as he finds his place in the family mariachi band.

We Play Music

Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish

It’s a celebration of sound when a group of neighborhood children gather on a stoop to play their instruments. Spanish version available.

Welcome Song for Baby

Age Level: 0-3

Product Description: From renowned First Nations storyteller Richard Van Camp comes a lyrical lullaby for newborns. Complemented with stunning photographs, this evocative board book is perfectly suited as a first book for every baby.