• Recommended Books
    Here is a list of books that I read or sing aloud during music lessons to various grade levels throughout the year. If you are interested in reading them at home, most can be purchased online at Amazon.com or ordered through your favorite independent book store. Many of the books include a CD for listening or singing along. Enjoy!
  •  All the Pretty Little Horses - Linda Saport

    All the Pretty Little Horses

    by Linda Saport (illustrator) Year Published: 2005
    Luminous pastel illustrations washed with color accompany the familiar words of this song from the American South. With its images of many-colored horses, cake, and a lost lamb that finds its mother, this lullaby artfully bridges the gap between sleep and waking. Recommended reading level: grades 1-2, though wonderful to read and sing aloud to younger children, including infants and toddlers.
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  • B-I-N-G-O

    by Hans Wilhelm (Illustrator) Year Published: 2005
    Sing along out loud as you read about a farmer and his dog with a very catchy "name-o"! The lyrics to this popular song are illustrated by Hans Wilhelm. A CD featuring B-I-N-G-O and two other songs, "She'll Be Comin' Around the Mountain" and "Fire Truck," is attached to the inside cover! Recommended reading level: K-2, but can be read aloud to younger children.
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  • Carnival of the Animals: Classical Music for Kids

    by Camille Saint-Saens (composer), Barrie C. Turner (author), Sue Williams (illustrator) Year Published: 1999
    Nearly 150 years ago, the composer Camille Saint-Saëns was asked by his pupils to write a musical joke for them. He wrote the Carnival of the Animals, a piece people enjoyed so much that it has now become one of Saint-Saëns's most famous works. This accessible commentary, in a picture-book format, helps children follow each section of Saint-Saëns's classic piece while they listen to the CD. Whimsical illustrations, a simple text, and evocative melodies create an ideal introduction for young children to the world of classical music.
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  • Charlie Parker Played Bebop - Chris Raschka

    Charlie Parker Played Bebop

    by Chris Raschka Year Published: 1997
    A jazzy illustrated poem inspired by the Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie recording of "A Night in Tunisia," this book is fun to read aloud with the included CD recording. Recommended reading level: Grades 1-2, though it can be read aloud to younger children (and older children will enjoy it too!).
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  • Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa

    Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa

    by Andrea Davis Pinkney (author), Brian Pinkney (illustrator) Year Published: 2002
    Scat Cat Monroe, a feline who earned his name by knowing the "Queen of Scat," tells her story from "small-town girl to the First Lady of Song." The text, divided into four tracks (chapters), highlights Fitzgerald's early days in Harlem, singing with the Chick Webb Orchestra at the Savoy, and performing bebop with Dizzy Gillespie at Carnegie Hall. In a playful, conversational tone, this work nearly sings the rhythms of scat. Lively words and phrases like "Her voice was quick-fried rhythm" and "her scat swung to cloud nine and back" are scattered throughout. Bright colors, jazzy words, and energetic artwork bring the music of scat and Fitzgerald to life. This beautifully rendered tribute to the "Vocal Virtuosa" will be a welcome addition in all libraries. Recommended reading level: grades 2-4, but can be read aloud to younger children in segments.
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  •  If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong

    If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong

    by Roxanne Orgill and Leonard Jenkins Year Published: 2002
    The story of jazz trumpet player and singer Louis Armstrong's childhood... the hard times of his boyhood, his love of music, and his longing to learn to play the cornet. Recommended reading level: grades 2-4, but good to read aloud to younger students. 
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  • I've Been Working on the Railroad

    by Ann Owen (editor), D'Antonio (Illustrator), Sandra (Illustrator) Year Published: 2006
    Delight in the bright illustrations and enjoy singing the familiar lyrics. Then turn to the back of the book to learn the fascinating origins of this beloved song. Recommended reading level: grades 1-2, though can be read aloud to younger children.
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  •  John Philip Sousa: The March King - Carol Greene

    John Philip Sousa: The March King

    by Carol Greene Year Published: 1992
    A detailed biography of the life of American march composer and Marine Band leader John Philip Sousa, this book includes many interesting photos of Sousa and his family. Recommended reading level: grades 2-4, though it can be read aloud in segments to younger children.
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  • Lookin' for Bird in the Big City

    by Robert Burleigh (Author), Marek Los (Illustrator) Year Published: 2001
    A fictionalized version of jazz trumpeter Miles Davis's teenage journey to New York to meet his idol, Charlie Parker, with whom he later performed. Complemented superbly by evocative paintings, done in pencil, oil, and watercolor, the text captures the young Davis' openness to the sights and especially the sounds of the city. The  impressionistic illustrations convey the magnificence of Manhattan as seen from rooftops and bridges, as well as the neon energy of city streets lined with jazz clubs. This jazz picture book can serve as an introduction to the music and its history of jazz, and the detail-rich pictures and bouncy text will hold kids' interest nicely. Recommended reading level: grades 2-4, younger for reading aloud.
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  •  Summertime


    by Dubose and Dorothy Heward, George and Ira Gershwin, Mike Wimmer (illustrator) Year Published: 2002
    Gershwin's haunting tune, full of nostalgia and a sweet melancholy and now a well-recognized standard of jazz and pop music, is transformed here into a beautiful picture book for parent and child. Wimmer's oil paintings depict an African-American farming family "earlier in this century." Recommended reading level: grades 1-3, though can be read or sung aloud to younger children. (You can also follow along with the words while listening to one of the many recordings of "Summertime"... Mrs. Nowmos's favorite is the Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong rendition.)
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  •  The Animal Boogie

    The Animal Boogie

    by Debbie Harter Year Published: 2011
    Filled with brilliant tropical colors, this lively picture book combines poetry, song, and dance into a dazzling and fun-packed guessing game. On one double spread, the text reads, "Down in the jungle, come if you dare!/What can you see shaking here and there?" A monkey, a leopard, an elephant, and several other creatures move in their own particular ways. The rhythm of the text encourages children to boogie-woogie right along. The vivid illustrations, done in watercolor, crayon, and pen and ink, show lush jungle scenes, colorful animals, and a cast of smiling children. A simple musical score and CD are included. Recommended reading level: grades 1-2, though can be read aloud to younger children.
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  •  There Were Ten in the Bed

    There Were Ten in the Bed

    by Susan Chapman Calitri (illustrator) Year Published: 2003
    Sing along and count down the ten adorable puppies taking up space on one very small bed! This well-known children's song will have all readers singing out loud. A CD featuring There Were Ten in the Bed and two other songs, "The Ants Go Marching" and "This Little Light of Mine," is included with the book. Recommended reading level: grades K-2, but can be read aloud to younger children.
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  •  What a Wonderful World

    What a Wonderful World

    by George David Weiss, Bob Thiele, Ashley Brian (illustrator) Year Published: 1995
    Made famous by the late Louis Armstrong, this Weiss and Thiele song is interpreted in carnival colors by Bryan. A group of multiracial children use a puppet stage with banners flying and puppets (including a Louis Armstrong lookalike) in a wide variety of hues to dramatize the songs' lyrics. Smiling children, glowing yellows and pinks, and brilliantly colored pastoral settings make this more than a tribute to Armstrong, to whom it is dedicated. In the deft hands of artist Bryan, it is a song of joy from the lyricists who wrote it, the man who sang it, and the artist who envisioned it. Recommended reading level: grades 1-2, though can be read aloud to younger children, or you can follow along with the Louis Armstrong recording.
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  • Young Mozart

    by Rachel Isadora Year Published: 1999
    A beautifully-illustrated biography of the great Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, beginning in his childhood. Recommended reading level: grades 2-3, though it can be read aloud to younger children.
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