March is Music in Our Schools Month. Research shows that music can have positive effects on children’s early development. Investing in music education early helps children develop fine motor skills, as well as physical and mental health. In recognition of the important role music can play in families, communities, and for the individual, here are some terrific stories that include voices, ensembles, interesting instruments, and more. 

Music is at the heart of these stories:

Elephant’s Music by Monika Filipina

All of the animals in the forest can play an instrument, except Edward the Elephant. He tries, and he tries, but all he can do is make a terrible noise. So instead he became happy just listening, and so much so, that he became the band’s biggest fan! After walking up late for a performance one day, Edward runs through the jungle…DUM DUM DUM DUM…and discovers that he was musical after all. He turns out to be the beat the band needed! This is a playful yet important story about individual differences and finding ways to belong.

“Even a noisemaker can find a place in a band…An agreeable lesson in inclusion.”

Kirkus Reviews

Band Together by Chloe Douglass

Duck is a solo act. He loves the peace and solitude of his beachside home, strumming his ukulele beneath the stars. After helping stranded band players Bear, Fox, and Seagull fix their broken-down tour van, he has tons of fun playing songs and hanging out with his new friends. Maybe he could ask the Band if they want to play with him again. But why would they want to be friends with Duck? When Seagull gets sick, it looks like the concert will get canceled. Or will Duck drum up the courage and accept Bear’s invitation to join the Band? Will Duck help his new friends out?

Music is the universal language

“A loner duck comes into his own…Both vulnerability and self-confidence shine.” 

Kirkus Reviews

Hear Band Together read aloud by Chloe Douglass.

Read an interview with Chloe Douglass. 

Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music by Micheal Genhart, PhD

When both grandpas, Abuelo and Opa, visit at the same time, they can’t understand each other’s language and there is a lot of silence. The grandson’s clever thinking helps find a way for everyone to share the day together as two cultures become one family.

This unique book includes a bonus fold-out and a note from the author sharing the true story of his own family.

“Genhart pulls from his own childhood growing up in a bicultural family in this cheery picture book, which tells of a young boy and how the accordion brought his family together…. Music is the universal language….Great for reading aloud and featuring bright, energetic illustrations, this endearing story supports diversity and multicultural inclusion.”

Booklist

Hear Accordionly read aloud by Dr. Genhart.

Read an article about multicultural families and the power of music.

My Singing Nana by  Pat Mora

“Always amigos!”

My Singing Nana is a compassionate tribute to families dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease. This story celebrates the ideals of family, heritage, and happy memories, showing kids that no matter how their loved one might change they always have ways to maintain their special connection.

“A tender tribute to families who have loved ones suffering from dementia.”

Kirkus Reviews

Read an article about helping kids cope with dementia in loved ones.

You’ll find music, in smaller ways, in these stories, too.

Music can bring us together. Whether you are a member of the band, it’s biggest fan, or have favorite tunes, music is a universal language that can bridge all kinds of distances.