“When words leave off, music begins.” Heinrich Heine, a German poet from the 18th century wrote these words, which seem like a perfect match to a collection of children’s books about music.

“John Denver’s Sunshine On My Shoulders” Adapted & Illustrated by Christopher Canyon, Dawn Publications, 2003, ages 4-8.

“John Denver’s Grandma’s Feather Bed” Adapted & Illustrated by Christopher Canyon, Dawn Publications, 2007, ages 4-8.

The songs of John Denver are brought to life through the delightful illustrations of Christopher Canyon in these two picturebooks. For fans old and new, the urge to sing along when reading these books will be irresistible. Both books include the musical score along with information about John Denver. The hardback edition is accompanied by an audio CD.

“Passing the Music Down” by Sarah Sullivan, Illustrated by Barry Root, Candlewick Press, 2011, ages 6-10.

A young boy admires the fiddle playing of an accomplished fiddler, and soon finds himself learning about music and life in the Appalachian Hills from the elderly musician. The story, inspired by the true friendship between musicians Jake Krack and Melvin Wine, tells of the tradition kept alive by these fiddlers as they pass the music down from one generation of fiddlers to the next.

“For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart” by Elizabeth Rusch, Paintings by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher, Tricycle Press, ages 7-11.

Although people around the world recognize Wolfgang Mozart as an accomplished pianist, few know of his older sister, Maria Ann, also a pianist of incredible talent. For the Love of Music shares the story of Maria Anna’s talents and her friendship, influence, and musical collaboration with her younger brother. The story is told through four movements, imitating the sequence of a sonata and utilizing various musical terms. The illustrations are both unique and beautiful, created from fabric, paper, and oil paints.

“Before There was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulonge, Chevalier de Saint-George” by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by James E. Ransome, 2011, Random House, ages 8-11.

Joseph Boulogne is thought to be one of the finest classical violinists in Europe during the 18th century. Born in the West Indies, Joseph is the son of a black slave and a white French plantation owner and as a young child, he returns to his father’s home in France. Amidst prejudice, Joseph studies the violin and goes on to become a renowned musician, even inspiring Wolfgang Mozart, an attendee at Joseph’s concert.

Hopefully these books will provide an enjoyment of both words and music.

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