Reading recommendations

Somebody to Love book cover

Somebody to Love: The Story of Valerie June’s Sweet Little Baby Banjolele by Valerie June Hockett (author) and Marcela Avelar (illustrator)

Once upon a time, a sweet and tiny little instrument was given to a singer named Valerie June. It had a round face and four strings. It was so small that she thought it was a toy. The banjolele dreamed of singing and playing but never could finish a song until the instrument’s new friend Valerie believed it could. That’s all the little banjolele needed! The song “Somebody to Love” burst from the banjolele’s strings and the two friends travelled the world together living their dreams!

Muddy Waters book cover

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters by Michael Mahin (author) and Evan Turk (illustrator)

When Grandma Della said the blues wouldn’t put food on the table, Muddy didn’t listen. And when record producers told him no one wanted to listen to a country boy playing country blues, Muddy ignored them as well. This tenacious streak carried Muddy from the hardscrabble fields of Mississippi to the smoky juke joints of Chicago and finally to a recording studio where a landmark record was made.

Hello, I'm Johnny Cash book cover

Hello, I’m Johnny Cash by G. Neri (author) and A. G. Ford (illustrator)

G. Neri captures Johnny’s story in beautiful free verse, portraying an ordinary boy with an extraordinary talent who grew up in extreme poverty, faced incredible challenges, and ultimately found his calling by always being true to the gift of his voice. A. G. Ford’s luscious paintings of the dramatic southern landscape of Johnny Cash’s childhood illuminate this portrait of a legend, taking us from his humble beginnings to his enormous success on the world stage.

Dolly Parton I am a Rainbow book cover

I Am a Rainbow by Dolly Parton (author) and Heather Sheffield (illustrator)

Have you ever been tickled pink? Green with envy? Or just plain blue? Well, it’s good to know that we all have a rainbow of feelings inside. Beloved music legend Dolly Parton provides children with a fun way to talk about their feelings in this colorful, upbeat picture book. And by understanding their own feelings, they can learn to respect the feelings of others. I Am a Rainbow will encourage children of all ages to acknowledge their feelings and take control.

Guitar Genius book cover

Guitar Genius: How Les Paul Engineered the Solid-Body Electric Guitar and Rocked the World by Kim Tomsic (author) and Brett Helquist (illustrator)

This is the true story of how Les Paul created the world’s first solid-body electric guitar, countless other inventions that changed modern music, and one truly epic career in rock and roll. How to make a microphone? A broomstick, a cinderblock, a telephone, a radio. How to make an electric guitar? A record player’s arm, a speaker, some tape. How to make a legendary inventor? A few tools, a lot of curiosity, and an endless faith in what is possible. This unforgettable biography will resonate with inventive readers young and old.

Prince book cover

Little People, BIG DREAMS: Prince by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (author) and A. G. Ford (illustrator)

From a young age, Prince was obsessed with music. Even though he couldn’t read it, his talent—whether on piano, drums, guitar, or vocals—turned him into an icon. Combining funk, disco, soul, and almost every other genre out there, his songs are some of the best-loved all around the world. Prince knew that he didn’t have to be like anyone else to be a star—and there was no one quite like Prince. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the music legend’s life.

We're going to be friends book cover

We’re Going to be Friends by Jack White (author) and Elinor Blake (illustrator)

“We’re Going to be Friends” by The White Stripes is one of rock ’n’ roll’s most enduring songs about friendship. With the help of illustrator Elinor Blake (a.k.a. April March), the perennial favorite feels right at home on the page as a hardcover children’s book. Children, adults, and you, too, can join Suzy Lee as she goes to school with her books and pens, looks for bugs, shows and tells, and finds a friend.

Lil Nas X C is for Country book cover

C Is for Country by Lil Nas X (author) and Theodore Taylor III (illustrator)

Join superstar Lil Nas X and Panini the pony on a fabulous journey through the alphabet from sunup to sundown. Featuring bold, bright art from Theodore Taylor III, kids will experience wide-open pastures, farm animals, guitar music, cowboy hats, and all things country in this debut picture book that’s perfect for music lovers learning their ABCs and for anyone who loves Nas’s unique genre-blending style and iconic red-carpet looks.

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