Growing Reader


Picture Books for Rock and Roll Parents and Their Kids

by Devon Corneal

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.

  • Punk Farm and Punk Farm on Tour

    by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

    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!
    Ages 3 - 7

  • What Is Punk?

    by Eric Morse, illustrated by Anny Yi

    This unique primer uses clay figure artwork and rhyming text to teach children about the origins and history of punk rock. This is a great way for parents who love the Ramones and Velvet Underground to share their passion and appreciation of this rebellious music with the next generation.
    Ages 3 - 7

  • Every Little Thing

    adapted by Cedella Marley, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

    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.
    Ages 3 - 6

  • Forever Young

    by Bob Dylan, illustrated by Paul Rogers

    Turn your kids on to newly-minted Nobel laureate Bob Dylan with this interpretation of one of Dylan’s most well-known songs. The dreamy illustrations, designed to evoke Dylan’s life and the time in which the song was written, will take you back decades and prove that everything old is new again.
    Ages 4 - 7

  • Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow

    by Gary Golio, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe

    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.
    Ages 6 - 9

  • The Rock & Roll Alphabet

    by Jeffrey Schwartz, photographs by Chuck Boyd

    Using photographs from the collection of renowned photographer Chuck Boyd, musicians from past decades take center stage to teach children their letters and to expose them to the diversity and electricity of the world of rock and roll. “A is for Aretha” is only the beginning.
    Ages 3 - 7

  • Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!

    by Wynton Marsalis, illustrated by Paul Rogers

    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.
    Ages 4 - 8

  • Violet’s Music

    by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith

    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.
    Ages 4 - 8

  • Rock & Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story

    by Sebastian Robertson, illustrated by Adam Gustavson

    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.
    Ages 6 - 9

  • Elvis: The Story of the Rock and Roll King

    by Bonnie Christensen

    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.
    Ages 6 - 9

  • Coat of Many Colors

    by Dolly Parton, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes

    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.
    Ages 4 - 9

  • Gus & Me

    by Keith Richards, illustrated by Theodora Richards

    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.
    Ages 4 - 7

  • The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny)

    by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer, illustrated by Stacy Innerst

    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.
    Ages 6 - 9

  • When the Beat was Born

    by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III

    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.
    Ages 6 - 10

  • Who Was...? Series

    by various authors

    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.
    Ages 9 - 12

What musicians have you shared with your kids?