Header

Mrs. King at Home About Mrs. King Contact Mrs. King Mrs. King's Music Class HOME Image Map

Books You Need in Your Music Classroom - Upper Elementary List


Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.
I love incorporating books into my music lessons and I am adamant that I have a classroom library of books that teach about music history, explore music genres and dance, serve as a reference and more.  This year I moved to a new classroom that had NO music classroom library.  None.  Zilch.  Since I use a reading station in almost of my workstation rotations, I new I had to do something.

I have my own library of books that I've purchased during the last 20 years, so I had a few things to start with but soon realized most of my books were for primary aged students.  I'm currently teaching 3rd, 4th and 5th graders and most of the books that I had were for Kindergarten through 2nd grades.

Off to Amazon I went!  I would love to say that I researched for hours and consulted a stack of teacher resources, but I already had a wishlist a mile long for this age group!   Below you'll find a list of the books I have in my library that are appropriate for upper elementary classes.  

This list is not even CLOSE to being comprehensive.  There are hundreds of books that I could add to this list and more being published every year.  This list may be a good starting point for you if you are building a library for your music classroom.
Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.
Charlie Parker Played Be Bop      Chris Raschka
Leaf Man             Lois Ehlert
Max Found Two Sticks   Brian Pinkney
Thump Thump Rat-a-Tat-Tat       Gene Baer
Abiyoyo               Pete Seeger, illus by Michael Hays
The Music Teacher from the Black Lagoon            Mike Thaler
We All Went on Safari:  A Counting Journey through Tanzania     Laurie Krebs and Julia Cairns
Chalk     Bill Thomson  (This book is GREAT for introducing opera.  Students sing an improvised story to this book.)
M is for Music    Kathleen Krull

Dance
Dictionary of Dance         Liz Murphy
My Many Colored Days   Dr. Suess
The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet   Deborah Hautzig

Sing the Book
America the Beautiful    Scholastic

Blowin' in the Wind         Bob Dylan, illus John J. Muth
Don't Laugh at Me           Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin
Froggie Went a-Courtin'                Iza Trapani
Grandma's Feather Bed     Christopher Canyon (lyrics by John Denver)
Puff the Magic Dragon      Peter Yarrow, Lenny Lipton
Senor Don Gato     illustrated by John Manders
Take Me Home, Country Roads     Christopher Canyon (lyrics by John Denver)
Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs  Alan Katz
There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow        Lucille Colandro
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat      Lucille Colandro
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell     Lucille Colandro
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly       Simms Taback
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell  Lucille Colandro
What a Wonderful World             Tip Hopbood
Possum Come a-Knockin'             Nancy Van Laan

Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.
 Biography and Careers in Music
Some of these books are chapter books, so students may only get to read a portion of the book during workstation rotations.  My room is used as a bus room and so students also have the opportunity to read during bus room.  I do not lend my books out, but if something is quite popular I let our school librarian know.
Who Is Dolly Parton?      True Kelley
Who Was Elvis Presley? Geoff Edgers
Who was Michael Jackson? Megan Stine
Who Were the Beatles?  Geoff Edgers
There are more titles in this series that you might like.  Elton John and Bruce Springsteen are a few more musicians you can find.
Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.
Marvin Makes Music      Jim Madsen
When the Beat was Born:  DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop        Laban Carrick Hill
 
Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.
Composers
Aaron Copland (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)         Mike Venezia
Duke Ellington (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)          Mike Venezia
George Gershwin (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)   Mike Venezia
George Handel (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)        Mike Venezia
I, Vivaldi               Janice Shefelman
Johann Sebastian Bach (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)         Mike Venezia
John Philip Sousa (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)    Mike Venezia
Ludwig van Beethoven (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)         Mike Venezia
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart         Mike Venezia
Young Mozart    Rachel Isadora
Famous Composers Reference Book      Usborne

Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.
Patriotic
I teach a "Star-Spangled Banner" unit and like to have a few books on hand for students who finish early.  These are a couple of my favorites.
By the Dawn's Early Light, The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner    Steven Kroll
Can You Sing "The Star-Spangled Banner"?          Martha E.H. Rustad

History
Do Re Mi:  If You Can Read This Thank Guido A'rezzo       Susan Roth
Everyday History: Song and Dance           John Malam
The Rock and Roll Alphabet         Jeffrey Schwartz
V is for von Trapp:  A Musical Family Alphabet    William Anderson
We Shall Overcome:  The Story of a Song              Debbie Levy
When Marian Sang          Pam Munoz Ryan
Before John Was a Giant              Carole Boston Weatherford
John Henry         Julius Lester, illus Jerry Pinkney

Instruments
I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello        Barabara S. Garriel
Lemony Snicket The Composer is Dead  Nathaniel Stookey
M is for Melody                Kathy-jo Wargin
Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo John Lithgow
The Remarkable Farkle McBride       John Lithgow
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin       Lloyd Moss
Moses Goes to a Concert             Isaac Millman

Getting Your Library Ready
Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.

Every teacher has to find what works best for them, but here are some things that I do to keep my classroom library in good shape:
1.  I put my name on the inside of the front cover, on the back cover and inside the book.  I use a permanent marker and a paint pen on books with a dark cover.
2.  Some of the books have CDs inside of them.  I prefer to keep the CDs in the book, so I tape them in and write "Do not remove." in permanent marker in an obvious place.  I must admit that this works great for every class except Kindergarten.  *giggle*  They rip the CD out and bring it to me so it doesn't get broken.  
3.  I usually keep my library on a shelf, but you could use milk crates, a rolling cart or even a book bag if you were only going to use them during workstations.

I hope that this list is helpful and would love to hear other suggestions for books to add to my library.  Leave the title of your favorites for upper elementary classes in the comments.  If you liked these ideas, pin this post for later!
Picture books and chapter books for the music classroom are essentials.  Explore this list of books appropriate for upper elementary that cover instruments, composers, careers, history and more.

post signature

3 comments:

  1. Wonderful reference list. I have a lot of this already and didn't even know some of them on your list existed. Thank you for the list.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the awesome list! I'd love to know more about how you structure your work stations that incorporate students reading these books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I usually plan 4-6 stations (depending on the number of students in the class) per class period. I always start with a brief explanation of what to do at each station and then divide the students up into groups of 3-5. I don't like to do groups larger than 5 because they tend to be more chatty and get less done. LOL. The students spend 6-8 minutes at each station. I know that isn't a lot of time, but most of the activities can be completed. One of the stations is often the reading station. Usually I just let them select any book from my library, but around Halloween or Christmas or some special time I will pull out some themed books for the occasion and have them stick to those selections to browse.

      Delete