Musical Story Favorites

  • Barn Dance by Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault

    I use the story Barn Dance to talk about country music and string instruments as well (fiddle, etc.) There is a Reading Rainbow version of this book as well.


    The House That Drac Built by Judy Sierra

    This is a Halloween-version of "The House That Jack Built" but instead of learning a song, students create spooky sounds on instruments to go along with what is happening in the story (bats, cats, werewolves, and Trick-or-Treaters are among the group!)


    The House That Jack Built by Simms Taback

    Students read this story as a song using the notes Sol, La, and Mi. This is a cumulative story where things are added to "The House That Jack Built" on each page.


    In the Hall of the Mountain King Cover

    In the Hall of the Mountain King Adapted from Henrik Ibsen by Allison Flannery Illustrated by Vesper Stamper

    This story is an illustrated version of the piece "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg. This piece is used in many commercials and movies so several students are able to recognize it when they hear it.


    The Jazz Fly by Matthew Gollub

    I only recently incorporated this book into my jazz (style) lessons and my students loved it! We practiced the scatting sections together the first time we read it, and then I showed a YouTube video version with instrument recordings in the background.


    Little Pig Joins the Band by David Hyde Costello

    This story is perfect for introducing musical instruments and instrument families. There is a read aloud version available on Epic! that adds in instrument sounds as well.


    A Loud Winter's Nap Cover

    A Loud Winter's Nap by Katy Hudson

    I use this book during the winter time for timbre lessons. This book uses a lot of Onomatopoeia words (TAP TAP TAP, Thud! Pat!, Swish Swish Swish, KERPPLLUUNNK!) that I ask students to pair with instruments.


    Max Found Two Sticks Cover

    Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney

    The onomatopoeia sounds created by Max in this story are great for a rhythm unit. I created a Google Slideshow of all of the patterns Max plays and I have students echo them back using pencil drum sticks!


    Music Teacher From the Black Lagoon Cover

    The Music Teacher From The Black Lagoon Story by Mike Thaler Pictures by Jared Lee

    Students learn about the main character and their "first music class worries" in this story. Students talk about their first day of school/first music class emotions and feelings as well.


    Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins Cover

    Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins by James Dean

    This book in the Pete the Cat series includes illustrations and the lyrics for the song "Five Little Pumpkins." Students read the story and learn the song together. Students also make Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Shakers to go along with this lesson.


    Six Little Chicks by Jez Alborough

    This story is paired with Mussorgsky's "Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks." I ask students to name the movements of the Little Chicks from the story and these movements are then transferred into egg shaker movements. The movements demonstrate the A B A form of the song.


    Story of Music Books

    The Story of Music Book Set

    This series covers top country, rap, pop, and rock artists of yesterday and today and gives a great introduction to each of these genres of music for students.

    We Are The Dinosaurs Book Cover

    We Are the Dinosaurs Written by Laurie Berkner Illustrated by Ben Clanton

    This song (that gets stuck in your head!) can be used to talk about form, feeling macro (BIG) vs micro (small) beats, or dynamics. I enjoy teaching the song and having students add their own dinosaur movements as we march around the room and act it out.


    What A Wonderful World Book Cover

    What a Wonderful World Illustrated by Tim Hopgood

    The illustrations in this book are a perfect pairing for Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." I like to use this book around Earth Day and also teach scarf movements to show the form of the song.


    Where the Wild Things Are Cover

    Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

    Students read the story and add instruments to create a musical piece. Students discuss elements of opera and watch the opera version of the book as well.


    Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss

    This story is a classic for going over instruments in the orchestra.