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Growing Reader

Yee-haw! 12 Fantastic Picture Books for Country Music Lovers

by Dena McMurdie

country-music-books
Background credit: KNST ART STUDIO/Shutterstock

I love country music! I grew up in the Canadian Rockies with nothing but ranch land for miles around. Every few months, my “town” of 500 people would hold a barn dance with a live band and line dancing. Those are still some of my favorite memories.

Country music has changed since I was a child, but it’s still my favorite music genre. It should be no surprise that I also love reading books about it to my children. If you’re another avid fan of country music, here are some fantastic picture books to read with your kids.

  • C is for Country

    by Lil Nas X, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III

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    Lil Nas X exploded into the country music scene with his 12-time platinum single "Old Town Road." Kids who can’t get enough of the song will love this picture book from the Grammy-winning singer. Take a ride through the countryside with Lil Nas X and his pony as they learn the alphabet. This upbeat picture book celebrates the best things about rural life and country music.

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  • Coat of Many Colors

    by Dolly Parton, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes

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    Dolly Parton is one of the most iconic country music singers, and this book brings one of her songs to the page. The illustrations depict scenery from Dolly’s childhood in the Smoky Mountains and tell the heartfelt story of a girl whose mother sews her a coat out of rags. If you love the classic song, this gorgeous picture book is a must-have!

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  • Otis

    by Loren Long

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    Tractors make frequent appearances in country songs, and kids that love the big machines also adore this sweet story. When Otis gets old, a new tractor shows up and takes over his job. But when a calf gets stuck in the mud, only Otis can save the day. This modern classic is a favorite of children and adults alike.

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  • Sister, Brother, Family

    by Willie Nelson and Bobbie Nelson, illustrated by Kyung Eun Han

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    Willie Nelson and his sister Bobbie Nelson are American legends. In this heartfelt picture book, they share the story of their childhood growing up during the Depression in rural Texas, learning to play music, and their path to stardom. This book is a must-read for any die-hard country music fan.
    (On Sale: 9/7/2021)

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  • My Voice Is a Trumpet

    by Jimmie Allen, illustrated by Cathy Ann Johnson

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    Jimmie Allen is one of my favorite new country music stars, and I love his picture book, too. He encourages readers to lift their voices for what they believe in. Everyone has a voice, and even young children can make a difference when they speak up.
    (On sale: 7/13/2021)

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  • Black Cowboy, Wild Horses

    by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

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    As every country music fan knows, wild horses and cowboys are a staple of the genre. This gorgeously illustrated picture book tells the story of Bob Lemmons, a former slave who becomes famous for tracking mustangs on the American Frontier. It’s a celebration of a life dedicated to the harsh and beautiful land and the horses who called it home.
    (On sale: 8/17/2021)

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  • The Jolly Barnyard

    by Annie North Bedford, illustrated by Tibor Gergely

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    Join these cheerful barnyard animals as they discuss how to celebrate Farmer Brown’s birthday. This classic Little Golden Book has been read and loved by generations of children.

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  • Country Style! (Sunny Day)

    by Random House, illustrated by Miranda Yeo

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    Every kid fantasizes about becoming a famous musician someday. This sparkly picture book follows Nickelodeon’s Sunny Day characters as they try to make a local singer into a country music star. Bright colors, fun fashion, and a love for music make this delightful picture book a favorite of young readers.

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  • Every Cowgirl Needs Dancing Boots

    by Rebecca Janni, illustrated by Lynne Avril

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    If your child loves dressing up in cowgirl or cowboy attire, they’ll adore this sweet story about finding common ground with others. Hoping to make friends with her new neighbors, Nellie Sue decides to throw a Barnyard Bash in her garage. But when her carefully planned dance party starts to fall apart, she’ll have to act fast to save the day. If you like this story, check out the rest of the series starring Nellie Sue.

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  • Passing the Music Down

    by Sarah Sullivan, illustrated by Barry Root

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    A young boy travels to the countryside in West Virginia to meet a fiddle player he admires. The older man becomes his mentor, teaches him about music, and invites him to perform at folk festivals. This heartfelt story inspired by fiddlers Melvin Wine and Jake Krack celebrates the tradition of passing music from one generation to another.

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  • Blue Grass Boy

    by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

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    If Bluegrass is your jam, then you need to read this picture book biography of Bill Monroe. As a child, Bill’s eyes didn’t work well, but he worked hard to learn the sounds around him. This charming picture book captures the life, struggles, and triumphs of an American music legend who developed a unique sound and influenced some of the most popular country music stars.

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  • Cowboy Small

    by Lois Lenski

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    Come along for a delightful western adventure with Cowboy Small and his horse, Cactus. Together, they ride the range, sing around the campfire, and sleep under the stars. Kids that love the cowboy life will ask to read this story again and again.

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