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Classical 101

Books on Opera for Kids

Opera Columbus
Children can absolutely love opera, especially when it is told through stories and images.

The way to a kid's heart maybe less through music at first, but more through stories. Here's a list of some of my favorite books about opera, suitable for kids. This is by no means exhaustive, just a sampling. Feel free to send in your own favorite titles:

Sing Me A Story
Credit Sing Me A Story book cover / Amazon

Sing Me a Story, the Metropolitan Opera Book of Opera Stories for Children by Jane Rosenberg

Suitable for grades 3-6; and beautifully illustrated. Breaks down the intricacies (impossibilities!) of some opera plots.

100 Great Operas and Their Stories by Henry W. Simon

This book is good for junior high age. No illustrations. Very clear explanations of opera plots along with some historical context. A straightforward writing style, can be refreshing in this genre. This has been in print for years. It's that good!

The Random House Book of Opera Stories cover
Credit Amazon
The Random House Book of Opera Stories

 The Random House Book of Opera Stories,  by Adele Gerard is best for grade school kids. Beautiful illustrations. Pithy re- tellings of favorites geared to kids, including Prokofiev's delightful 

Love for Three Oranges  Aida as told by Leontyne Price Illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon

The great soprano hosts a gorgeous book telling the story of her  greatest role,  Giuseppe Verdi's Aida, an Ethiopian slave held captive at the court of the Pharaoh of Egypt.

(It's my all time favorite!)

Stories of favorite Operas by Clyde Robert Bulla 

High school age can read this without embarrassment. I enjoy reading this aloud to little kids. There's an added level of sophistication to the story telling. Clyde Robert Bulla (1914-2007) was a celebrated children's author. This book, originally published in two volumes, is worth seeking out. 

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.