This is perhaps why music books are so popular. From autobiographies of famous artists to deep dives into particular genres or scenes, music books offer us the chance to gain fresh insights and explore the world of music from a new angle. If you’re a music fan, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not reading music books. We’ve put together a list of some of the best music literature available today. These books truly picture the music, check them out below.
Every Little Thing: Based on the song “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley
It would be hard to argue against the notion that Bob Marley was one of the world’s most influential artists. His music has inspired generations and was the fire that fuelled cultural reforms and revolutions.
Bob Marley has both cross-cultural and cross-generational appeal. His songs are deeply layered and multi-faceted, they can be taken at face value and enjoyed in and of themselves, or they can be studied to unravel the deeper complexities and hidden meanings.
Every Little Thing is a testament to Bob Marley’s ability to speak to all age groups. Written by his daughter, Cedella Marley, Every Little Thing is an illustrated children’s book inspired by her father’s famous song ‘Three Little Birds’.
The book delivers a beautiful message to help teach young children to be happy and not let things get them down, an ethos which permeated much of Bob Marley’s musical work.
I Got the Rhythm
I Got the Rhythm is a children’s book by Connie Schofield Morrison. It tells the story of a young girl and her mother taking a walk in the park. The mother and daughter duo soon find themselves inspired to dance and sing, driven at first by their own internal sense of rhythm and then by external musical sources such as a nearby boom-box.
The book is wonderfully illustrated with engaging, colourful scenes that perfectly reflect the joyous message of the story itself. As the mother and daughter dance, they sing catchy, memorable songs that any child is sure to quickly pick up and enjoy. I Got the Rhythm is the perfect way to teach children about the power of music and how it can make us feel happy.
Whether you are teaching your child about the joys of singing or the intricacies of royalty-free music, I Got the Rhythm is the ideal book to get started.
We Shall Overcome
Music isn’t all fun and games, which means that music books are often more serious too. We Shall Overcome by Debbie Levy is a work of immense importance, inspired by the heroes of the civil rights movement who fought for equality and fair treatment in America.
The book’s title is taken from the gospel-turned-protest anthem, We Shall Overcome, which was sung at protests and rallies throughout the US at the height of the civil rights movement.
The book uses the history of this song to track the progress of the fight for equality. Beginning with the song’s origins during the years of slavery, the book follows its journey as it left the workers and was picked up by the frontrunners of the civil rights movement, eventually becoming a powerful symbol of their struggle and their passion.
For those looking to learn about the history of civil rights in the US and the role music played, We Shall Overcome is a book you simply cannot afford to miss.
Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Modern Retelling of the Classic Spiritual
Inspired by the classic African American spiritual song Standing in the Need of Prayer, this illustrated book by award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford and celebrated artist Frank Morrison is a moving account of African American history in the US.
The book begins back in 1619, when the first slaves arrived from Africa and landed at Point Comfort. From there, the book follows the weaving stories of black American lives, chronicling their hardships, trials, and tribulations that took place over the next 400 years.
The book also pays tribute to iconic African American figures throughout history, including people like Florence Griffith Joyner and Duke Ellington.
At its core, Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Modern Retelling of the Classic Spiritual is a book about hope, and is demonstrative of the durability of human nature and how we can withstand anything that comes our way.
Much like music itself, music books come in all shapes and sizes. They can be fun-filled adventures that children will enjoy, or more serious works that examine history and human nature. Music is inextricably linked with African American culture, check out some of the books on this list to learn more about it.