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Classical 101

Five Free Children’s eBooks About Music

photo of bookshelf tinted slightyl red

The kids are home from school – for a long, loooooong time. But good news: There’s no time to be bored when there are so many great free children’s eBooks that can open kids’ eyes and ears to the world of music.

Here are a few children’s eBooks in the TumbleBook Library, which the Columbus Metropolitan Library makes available online

The Dance of the Violin by Kathy Stinson and Dušan Petričić 

Credit Annick Press

Joshua Bell is one of the world’s most gifted violinists. This book tells the true story of Bell’s youth with music – turning everyday items around the house into musical instruments, even attaching rubber bands to the knobs on dresser drawers and plucking them like the strings on a violin. He eventually began taking violin lessons and, at 12 years old, performed in the Stulberg International String Competition.

Early on in the competition, Bell fumbled so badly that he had to stop playing. But he started over. And, remembering how much he loved the music he was about to play...and knowing he had nothing left to lose... he “played better than ever before.”

Written in clear prose with some sophisticated sentence structures, this book is an inspiring story about how a child coped with what could have been a huge disappointment, and went on to achieve phenomenal success.

The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson and Dušan Petričić

It’s a story too good not to keep telling: the now-famous 2007 experiment in which concert violinist Joshua Bell played his priceless Stradivarius violin in the Washington, D.C. Metro as thousands of people just walked by. Author Kathy Stinson’s narrative shows us young Dylan, who  is transfixed by the violin music he hears and wants to stop to listen. But his mother hustles him along.

The D.C. Metro experiment was set up by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Gene Weingarten. The Man with the Violin gives kids a great story, a dose of history and a glimpse into the world of a world-class violinist all at once.

Pecorino’s First Concert by Alan Madison and AnnaLaura Cantone 

Credit Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Everything changes the day Pecorino Sasquatch’s mother takes him to an orchestra concert. That day, Pecorino has all kinds of new experiences, encounters all kinds of unusual people – and meets the instruments of the orchestra. Arriving at the concert early, and while his mother is in the washroom, Pecorino take the opportunity to touch and even play some of the (unattended) musical instruments...  getting into a little bit of trouble. As for the concert itself – well, have fun reading about those high jinx of silly Pecorino.

Song of Middle C by Alison McGhee and Scott Menchin, with original music by Paula Mould 

The young protagonist of this story is facing her first piano recital next week. She has been practicing “all the time.” On the day of the recital, she puts on her lucky outfit, practices bowing to her audience of stuffed animals and heads to the recital venue. And then… a surprise ending that charms, delights and, in its own way, inspires.

The Best Mariachi in the World by J.D. Smith and Danielle Jones 

Everyone in Gustavo’s family plays an instrument in the family mariachi band – everyone, that is, but Gustavo. He feels like the worst mariachi in the world. He wants to make music with his musical family. But how? This story reminds us that we have the power to create windows when all doors seem closed.

Jennifer Hambrick unites her extensive backgrounds in the arts and media and her deep roots in Columbus to bring inspiring music to central Ohio as Classical 101’s midday host. Jennifer performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before earning a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.