Children's Book List

Reviews of Children's Literature

Drum Dream Girl

Written By: Margarita Engle
Illustrated By: Rafael Lopez


Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music

Follows a girl in the 1920s as she strives to become a drummer, despite being continually reminded that only boys play the drums, and that there has never been a female drummer in Cuba. Includes note about Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, who inspired the story, and Anacaona, the all-girl dance band she formed with her sisters.

Rating: 3 ***

Similar to Dr. Suess’ And to Think I saw it on Mulberry Street. A boy tells his teacher all of the outlandish reasons he didn’t get to school on time.

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Hana Hashimoto, sixth violin

Written By: Chieri Uegaki
Illustrated By: Qin Leng


Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin

Hana decides to play violin in the school talent show, but when the show day arrives, Hana is overcome with nerves until she recalls her grandfather’s encouraging words, and shows the audience how beautiful music can take many forms.

Rating: 4 ****

A sweet story about a girl inspired by her grandfather who lives on the other side of the world.

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Written By: Alicia Potter
Illustrated By: Matt Tavares


Jubilee! : one man’s big, bold, and very, very loud celebration of peace

A young boy growing up in Ireland, Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore loved music–the louder, the better! This love of music followed him to Boston in 1849, where he became a band leader. During the brutal Civil War, it was music that kept up his spirits and those of his fellow soldiers. So when the war ended and peace was restored to the country, Patrick had an idea. He would create the biggest, boldest, loudest concert the world had ever known to celebrate. A peace jubilee! But with twelve cannons, forty church bells, one thousand musicians, and ten thousand singers, just how would all of this sound?

Rating: 4 ****

An interesting story about a musical moment in history.

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Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson

Written By: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrated by: James E. Ransome


Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson : taking the stage as the first black-and-white jazz band in history

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

Rating: 3 ***

An interesting story about each musician’s childhood and how they came together. Text is a little heavy.

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The Punkydoos Take the Stage

Written By: Jennifer Jackson
Illustrated By: Dan Andreasen


The Punkydoos Take the Stage

Lexi-Lou, who loves to sing, sets out to assemble the best preschool rock band around.

Rating: 5 ****

It’s a neat idea. The story is about how a kids band gets formed, and the book includes a CD to listen to. Unfortunately, there is only one song on it. The song is pretty good and makes it more interesting to hear the story. Listen to the song first, otherwise the book is not very exciting.

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