Picture Books for Rock & Roll Parents and Their Kids

As Neil Young said, “Rock and roll is here to stay,” so it’s never too early to start exposing your kids to the magic of this musical tradition. Love the Beatles? Fan of punk rock? Dream of becoming a great songwriter like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen? Just like listening to or making music? Pull out your old concert tees, turn on your favorite playlist, and enjoy these fabulous books about rock and roll, country, hip-hop, and punk rock together with the budding musicians in your life.

Devon Corneal for ReadBrightly.com

Here are some recommended books in the Southfield Public Library catalog with commentary by the article’s writer. If you don’t see a copy available, contact a librarian to place an item on hold for you!

Punk Farm on Tour
Ages 3-7

Krosoczka, Jarret J.
Old MacDonald will never be the same again after these farm animals plug in their instruments and turn an old standard into a cool punk tune. Then see what happens when they go on tour!
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Every Little Thing
Ages 3-6

Marley, Cedella
Music is meant to inspire and uplift, and no one did that better than Bob Marley. The littlest readers will love Every Little Thing, which uses the lyrics of Marley’s “Three Little Birds” (and a few new verses) to get them smiling.
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Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow
Ages 6-9

Golio, Gary
Jimi Hendrix’s music was groundbreaking, provocative, eclectic, and original, just like the man himself. An extraordinary guitar player, Hendrix was once just a boy living in a boarding house with a one-string ukulele and big dreams. This is the story of his early years.
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Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!
Ages 4-8

Marsalis, Wynton
Music is, at its core, a collection of sounds, so what better way to teach children about it than by making them aware of the sounds all around us and how we might put them together to create unforgettable songs.
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Violet's Music
Ages 4-8

Johnson, Angela
Violet, like most children, is a natural musician. She spends her days making music with whatever she can find. Rattles, horns, even her own voice fill her world with sound, but Violet finds she’s always making music alone. Until the day she meets children who like to jam as much as she does.
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Rock & Roll highway: The Robbie Robertson Story
Ages 6-9

Robertson, Sebastian
I had never heard of Robbie Robertson before, but true rock and roll aficionados know the story of this talented guitarist who was inspired by the music he heard on the Six Nations Indian Reservation. Trace his journey from Canadian school boy to founder of The Band to Grammy award winner and film score composer.
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Elvis: The Story of the Rock and Roll King
Ages 6-9

Christensen, Bonnie
Elvis was revolutionary for his time, although kids probably find him tame now. Take your kids back to 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi so they can understand how a shy, church-going boy turned the music world upside down.
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Coat of Many Colors
Ages 4-9

Patron, Dolly
Rock and roll’s cousin is country music, and Dolly Parton is one of its queens. Her poor childhood is the stuff of legend, and inspired her song “Coat of Many Colors”. Parton has turned that song into a touching children’s book to remind us that poor families may lack for money, but they don’t lack for love.
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Gus & Me
Ages 4-7

Richards, Keith
A musician’s inspiration can come from many places, and for Keith Richards, it came from his grandfather, who introduced him to the guitar. That simple gesture started Richards on his incredible musical career and continued a legacy of creativity that Richards passed on to his daughter, whose artwork illustrates this touching family story.
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The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny)
Ages 6-9

Krull, Kathleen & Brewer, Paul
The Beatles were cute and talented and took the world by storm, but they were also wickedly funny. Spend some time with this vibrant and boldly illustrated picture book to find out just what made them laugh.
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When the Beat was Born
Ages 6-10

Hill, Laban Carrick
For fans of hip hop, this child-friendly biography of one of the genre’s pioneers, Clive Campbell, aka DJ Kool Herc, is a must-read. Inventive illustrations compliment the narrative, which shows how one person’s creativity changed the face of music.
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Who Was Michael Jackson (electronic resource)
Ages 9-12

Stine, Megan
Pick your favorite musician and dive into their lives with the Who Was...? series. Rock stars from Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Michael Jackson, and the Beatles are covered, so every young reader can find someone to relate to.
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