Libraries Rock!

For Grade School Readers

A drawn image of a kid wearing glasss playing the a snare drum.

This recommended reading list provides a broad list of books related to this summer’s theme of music. This list includes audio, braille, and large print titles and is recommended for those reading at a 2nd through 4th grade reading level up to a 4th through 7th grade reading level.


To order any of these titles, contact the library by email, mail or phone. You may also request these titles online through WolfPAC. Identification numbers for braille books begin with BR, large print books begin with LP, and audiobooks begin with DB or DBC. All audiobooks and available braille books listed are linked to the Braille and Audio Reading Download site (BARD) for downloading.


Grades 2 to 4


The Bard and the Beast by Jordan Quinn


Prince Lucas would rather be enjoying the outdoors with his best friend, Clara, than learning to play the lute, until a visiting bard demonstrates the power of music. Kingdom of Wrenly series, book 9. 2015.


Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss 



Read by John Horton. Reading time: 22 minutes.

Angry about the same four things always falling from the sky--rain, sunshine, snow, and fog--the king of the kingdom of Didd orders his royal magicians to create something new to fall from the sky. 1949.


Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black-and-White Jazz Band in History by Lesa Cline-Ransome


Celebrates the 1936 debut of the Benny Goodman quartet with Teddy Wilson in Chicago, considered to be the first widely seen integrated jazz performance. 2014.


Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century by Carole Boston Weatherford


Read by Wendell Jordan. Reading time: 16 minutes.

Short biography of acclaimed African American opera singer Mary Violet Leontyne Price. Born in Mississippi in 1927, Leontyne broke down racial barriers with her performances at the Metropolitan Opera House, Italy's La Scala opera house, and on television. 2014. 


The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter

BR016016 (Print/Braille)

As war comes to Basra, Iraq, the city librarian worries that the books will be destroyed. When the governor refuses to help her, the librarian saves the books her own way. Relates events in the life of Alia Muhammad Baker. 2005.     


Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown


Read by Deanna Sarkar. Reading time: 30 minutes.

Melba Liston grew up surrounded by music in Depression-era Kansas City and L.A. All through her family's home, notes stirred and rhythms bubbled. Even though her first trombone was almost bigger than she was, she couldn't keep her hands off of it. Self-taught, determined, she ended up becoming a virtuoso who collaborated with most 20th century jazz greats, despite facing many barriers as an African American woman. 2014.


Mr. Hynde is Out of His Mind! by Dan Gutman




Read by Mark Delgado. Reading time: 7 hours, 24 minutes.

A.J. hates school, but things improve when boring Mr. Loring leaves and a young, hip new music teacher, Mr. Hynde, arrives. Then Mr. Hynde performs on American Idol and everything changes again. My Weird School series, book 6. 2005.


Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum by Robert Andrew Parker

BR018019 (Print/Braille)


Read by Brian Hotaling. Reading time: 16 minutes.

An inspiring portrait of a young boy who became one of the piano jazz greats. Award winner. 2008.


When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson: The Voice of a Century by Pam Muñoz Ryan

BR015013 (Print/Braille)


Read by Laura Giannarelli. Reading time: 39 minutes.

A short biography of the internationally acclaimed singer Marian Anderson (1897-1993). The story, weaving in musical lyrics, recounts her journey from the church choir through appearances in the great music houses. An afterword discusses how Anderson's talent and noble spirit helped encourage social change. 2002.  


When the Beat was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill


Read by Kurt Elftmann. Reading time: 23 minutes.

Short biography of Clive Campbell, also known as DJ Kool Herc, who spun records and created an innovative style of playing music to make the breaks of the musical interludes between verses longer for dancing. John Steptoe New Talent Award. 2013.


Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein





Read by Christopher Hurt. Reading time: 1 hour, 29 minutes.

A collection of 127 madcap poems. Subjects include acrobats, Band Aids, dancing pants, and sleeping sardines. 1974.


Grades 3 to 6


Cassie Loves Beethoven by Alan Arkin



Read by Kristin Allison. Reading time: 3 hours, 12 minutes.

Hallie and David Kennedy are disappointed when their new cow, Cassie, doesn't give any milk. Their discovery that Cassie loves listening to Beethoven's music on the radio changes everything. Not only can she talk, she wants to play music herself. 2000.    


Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson


Read by Joe Peck. Reading time: 30 minutes.

Hiawatha, a Mohawk, plots revenge for the murder of his wife and daughters by the evil Onondaga chief, Tadodaho. But then he meets the Great Peacemaker, who enlists Hiawatha's help in bringing five nations together to share his vision of peaceful unity, and Hiawatha himself finds forgiveness. 2015.  


An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Mythical Creatures by Theresa Breslin


Read by Theresa Conkin. Reading time: 2 hours, 49 minutes.    

Collection of eleven Scottish tales featuring legendary creatures such as fairies, giants, mermen, selkies, witches, and even the monster of Loch Ness. 2015.  


Jazz by Walter Dean Myers

BR017019 (Print/Braille)

This celebration of American jazz contains a brief history of this musical tradition; fifteen poems linked to various styles from ragtime to swing, from bebop to fusion, and from funeral to dance; a glossary of jazz terms; and a chronology. 2006.  


Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman




A collection of poems describing the activities and characteristics of grasshoppers, mayflies, cicadas, and other insects. Newbery Medal. 1988.


Matilda by Roald Dahl




Read by Jennifer Mendenhall. Reading time: 4 hours, 18 minutes.

Matilda, a four-year-old genius, is unappreciated by her dishonest, used-car salesman father, her bingo-playing mother, and her older brother. Matilda's life is made bearable by her chance discovery of the public library and its librarian Mrs. Phelps--and by Matilda's own special powers. 1988.        


The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary


DBC12023 (Spanish language)


Read by Ronald B. Meyer. Reading time: 2 hours, 12 minutes.

Read by Mario Sanchez. Reading time: 3 hours, 25 minutes.

A young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy and discovers the joys of motorcycling. 1965.    


The Mystery of the Stolen Music by Gertrude Chandler Warner


The town orchestra is displaying a very valuable piece of music. When it mysteriously disappears, it's up to the boxcar children to find it! Boxcar Children series, book 45. 1996.


Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel



Read by Kristin Allison. Reading time: 6 hours, 14 minutes.

In the Silverwing bat colony, Shade--the runt of the newborns-- has an enormous sense of curiosity that endangers the entire colony. When he is lost in a storm during a migration, his adventures in the larger world begin. Shade wants to learn about the disappearance of his father, why some bats have metal bands, and how to return to his mother in the colony. 1997.


Grades 4 to 7


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson




Read by Jacqueline Woodson. Reading time: 3 hours, 58 minutes.

In this autobiography told through vivid poems, Woodson explores her childhood as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s and her growing awareness of the civil rights movement. Reflects on the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite her difficulties with reading as a child. 2014.


Hip-Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat by Nikki Giovanni


Read by Julian Thompson. Reading time: 1 hour, 41 minutes.

Fifty-one rhythmic poetry selections from forty-two poets and performers representing a wide range of styles and eras. Highlights works from Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Queen Latifah, and Kanye West. Includes part of Aesop Rock's "No Regrets"--a ditty about little Lucy's yellow-chalk drawings on the sidewalk. Editor, Nikki Giovanni. Advisory editors, Tony Medina, Willie Perdomo, and Michele Scott. 2008.    


In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall 


Read by Davit Rutherford. Reading time: 3 hours, 14 minutes.

Eleven-year-old Jimmy McClean is often bullied because of his light hair and blue eyes. He travels with his maternal grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, to learn about his Lakota heritage and the life of Crazy Horse, the nineteenth-century Lakota leader and warrior. 2015.          


The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements




Read by Erik Sandvold. Reading time: 3 hours, 20 minutes.

Sixth-grader Hart Evans finds out there is a big difference between popularity and leadership when Mr. Meinert, his music teacher, steps aside and Hart is elected by the chorus to be in charge of the holiday concert. 2004.


A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein



Read by Bob Askey. Reading time: 1 hour, 21 minutes.

A fat collection of poems that range from exhilarating nonsense to tender sadness. Includes "How Not to Have to Dry the Dishes," "Prayer of the Selfish Child," "Adventures of a Frisbee," and "Hiccup Cure." 1981.


Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers



DB016951 (Spanish language)


Read by Yvonne Fair Tessler. Reading time: 4 hours, 4 minutes.

Read by Miriam Cruz. Reading time: 5 hours, 49 minutes.

Read by Anne Flosnik. Reading time: 4 hours, 5 minutes.

An east wind blows the astonishing Mary Poppins straight into the nursery of the Banks family. Even though she is vain, stern, and crotchety, the children love this fantastic nanny who fills their lives with magic and mystery. 1934.


The Name of This Book Is Secret; If You're Reading This, It's Too Late; This Book Is Not Good for You; This Isn't What It Looks Like; You Have to Stop This by Pseudonymous Bosch    


Read by Andy Pyle. Reading time: 38 hours, 49 minutes.

Five books in a series. Eleven-year-old friends Cass and Max-Ernest solve mysteries involving a dead magician, a magic museum, and a mummy. In This Isn't What It Looks Like Cass gets stuck in the past and Max-Ernest races to save her before it is too late. The Secret series, books 1-5. 2007. 


The Rising Star of Rusty Nail by Lesley M. M. Blume


Read by Kristin Allison. Reading time: 5 hours, 34 minutes.

1953. Ten-year-old Franny dreams of taking piano lessons from the Russian concert pianist who has newly arrived in Rusty Nail, Minnesota. Madame Malenkov does not want pupils, and local gossips suspect her of being a communist spy, but Franny is determined to study with her. 2007.


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett




Read by Laura Giannarelli. Reading time: 7 hours, 57 minutes.

After becoming an orphan, Mary--ill-tempered and neglected--is sent to live on an uncle's huge estate where she meets an equally wretched cousin who is an invalid. Together they conspire to restore a locked, secret garden while the boy regains his health and his father's affection. 1938.  


The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman by Ben H Winters 


While completing a special project for social studies, seventh-grader Bethesda Fielding discovers the secret past of quiet, unassuming music teacher Ms. Finkleman. This revelation leads to a tutoring assignment for Bethesda and a most unusual concert performance. 2010.      


Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper



Read by Dale Allen. Reading time: 5 hours, 50 minutes.

When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town. 2015.        


The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting



Read by Tom Martin. Reading time: 2 hours, 48 minutes.

The adventures of a kind-hearted doctor who is fond of animals and understands their language. He travels to Africa with some of his favorite pets to cure the monkeys of a terrible sickness. 1920.      


Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones 


Read by Margaret Strom. Reading time: 4 hours, 38 minutes.

Speaking through a series of letters to her grandmother, twelve-year-old Sophie Brown tells of her family's move to her great-uncle Jim's farm, where she begins taking care of some odd chickens. Sophie discovers that one hen has a special talent. 2015.     


The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum


DB029963 (Spanish language)



Read by Alvaro Gonzalex Betancourt. Reading time: 7 hours, 42 minutes.

Read by Colleen Delany. Reading time: 4 hours, 13 minutes.

Blown by a cyclone from her Kansas home to the Wonderful Land of Oz, Dorothy meets the Tin Woodsman, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow. Together they travel to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard for their hearts' desires. 1899.