Among many other important celebrations, April is also the month that we all celebrate all the significant contributions that jazz music has made to society! To honor Jazz Appreciation Month, here’s a list of children’s books we recommend you try:
1. Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum. Robert A. Parker. (Schwartz & Wade)
This beautiful story paints vivid pictures of music, family, and community. We experience the joys of jazz through the senses of world famous pianist Art Tatum.
2. Jazz. Walter Dean Myers (Holiday House)
A beautiful journey through the history of jazz infused with colorful language that captures the
movements and feeling of jazz.
3. Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane. Carole Boston Weatherford. (Henry
Holt and Co.)
Experiencing the world through the eyes and ears of a young John Coltrane, introduces us to the
significant experiences that shaped his journey into the world of jazz.
4. Jazz On A Saturday Night. Leo & Diane Dillon. (The Blue Sky Press)
Jazz greats collide for a night of amazing jazz. Charlie, Monk, Max and others have the crowd
moving to irresistible jazz rhythms in this fun book.
5. This Jazz Man. Karen Ehrhardt. (HMH Books for Young Readers)
In this lively book, filled with Slapping, clapping, grooving, and moving, we learn about how
different musicians come together to make the amazing jazz sound.
6. Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald. Roxane Orgill. (Candlewick)
From dancing on street corners to earn money for food to singing on the world-renowned stages,
Ella Fitzgerald perseverance and gifted vocal ability change jazz forever.
7. The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy is Enlightening. Chris Raschka.
Sun Ra was a jazz musician who said he came from Saturn. This fun book takes children on a out
of this world exploration of genius of his life and music.
8. Little Melba and Her Big Trombone. Katheryn Russell-Brown. (Lee and Low) $15.00
The big trombone didn’t scare little Melba. She loved it and played it every chance she got.
Eventually, everyone wanted to hear Melba play.
9. Charlie Parker Played Be Bop. Christopher Raschka. (Scholastic Inc.) $6.99
This fun story gets kids laughing and loving the bebop of jazz great Charlie Parker.
10. Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp Whomp! Whomp Whomp! Whynton Marsalis.
(Candlewick) A little boy takes us on an amazing musical journey of the different sounds he encounters during
one fun-filled day in his neighborhood.
11. If I Only Had A Horn: Young Louis Armstrong. (HMH Books for Young Readers)
A young Louis Armstrong’s dream to play the cornet comes true after a brush with the law gives
him an opportunity to join a band.
12. Dizzy. Jonah Winter. (Arthur A. Levine Books)
This story talks about the colorful and talented trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. He made his way to New
York City, where he made a name for himself and played with the best bands around. He changed
13. The Little Piano Girl: The Story of Mary Lou Williams, Jazz legend. Ann Ingalls & Maryann
Macdonald. (HMH Books for Young Readers)
This story shows Mary Lou William’s love for music and the piano as a child helps her overcome
the challenges of poverty and racism.
14. Sweet Music in Harlem. Debbie A. Taylor. (Lee and Low)
How do you gather the best jazz musicians in Harlem? Take a picture. This fictional story
explains how one of the most famous pictures in jazz came to be.
15. Tito Puente, Mambo King. Monica Brown. (Rayo; Bilingual edition)
Before he could walk, Tito Puente loved to drum. Whether dancing or drumming to mamba, salsa,
and cha cha cha rhythms, Tito never gave up on his dream to have his own band.
16. Jazz Baby. Lisa Wheeler. (HMH Books for Young Readers)
A family’s love of jazz gets a little baby moving. The irresistible jazz rhythms fill the house with
snapping, tapping, clapping, and dancing.
17. Rent Party Jazz. William Miller. (Lee and Low)
The generosity of a popular trumpeter brings together a New Orleans neighborhood for an
unforgettable party to help a family in need.
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