Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

THE BLUES, in Illustrated and Otherwise Musically Related Picture Books (yet another list inspired by Nikki)

Posted on: March 29, 2013

June 2013, The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation is hosting their annual Tinner Hill Blues Festival and I’m honored to have been asked to share Singable Blues related picture books with children at the Mary Riley Styles Public Library in Falls Church, VA.  We worked out the song/book list from my existing repertoire, but I am interested in learning more and finding new Singable Picture Books to suit this delightful subject.

The following list includes the songs that I will be sharing at the Tinner Hill Blues Festival.  Here are the items I’ve found so far…

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All God’s Critters
Words and Music by Bill Staines
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 2009
ISBN 987-0-689-86959-4

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Becoming Billie Holiday
Words and Music by Various Artists
Story by Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

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big top and the blues
Big Top & The Blues
Story and Music by Michael Hill
Illustrated by Nina Norwood
Though not necessarily singable, this book nurtures musical appreciation and understanding.

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black cat bone
Black Cat Bone (the Life of Blues Legend Robert Johnson)
Written by J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Gary Kelley
Though not necessarily singable, this book nurtures musical appreciation and understanding by exploring the life of one of America’s greatest musicians.

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Blue Moo
Words by Sandra Boynton
Music by Sandra Boynton and Michael Ford
Illustrated by Sandra Boynton

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blues birth of an american sound
The Blues: Birth of an American Sound
Journey to Freedom, the African American Library
Written by Pamela J. Dell
Though not necessarily singable, this book nurtures musical appreciation and understanding.

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Blues Journey
Poems by Walter Dean Myers
Music by
Illustrated by Christopher Myers
I highly suggest the wonderful Audio Book created to go with this picture book, which musically brings the often singable text to life!

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blues of flats brown
The Blues of Flats Brown
By Walter Dean Myers
Illustrated by Nina Laden
Though not necessarily singable, this book nurtures musical appreciation and understanding.

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blue singers 10 who rocked the world
The Blues Singers (Ten Who Rocked the World)
Written by Julius Lester
Illustrated by Lisa Cohen
Though not necessarily singable, this book nurtures musical appreciation and understanding by exploring the lives of 10 of America’s greatest musical artists.

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daddy longleg blues
The Daddy Longlegs Blues
By Mike Ornstein
Illustrated by Lisa Kopelko

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Dry Bones (Classic Books with Holes)

Traditional Spiritual Words and Tune
Illustrated by Kate Edmunds

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Dry Bones (with Seraphine the Skeletine)
Traditional Words and Tune

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Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite
Text by Anna Harwell Celenza
Illustrated by Don Tate
This book comes packaged with a CD recording of the work.
Tough not necessarily singable, this book is filled with colorful and energetic pictures and gives a history of this jazz take on the old Christmas standard and comes packaged with a recording of Duke Ellington’s “Nutcracker Suite.”

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gershwin's rhapsody in blue
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue
Story by Anna Harwell Celenza
Illustrated by Joann E. Kitchel
Not Necessarily Singable, this is a picture book about music.

*

God Bless the Child
Words and Music by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog Jr.
Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

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Grandma’s Feather Bed (John Denver’s)
Words and Music by Jim Connor
Adapted and Illustrated by Christopher Canyon

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heroes of blues jazz & country r. crumb
Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country (R. Crumb’s)
Illustrated by R. Crumb
Introduction by Terry Zwigoff
Though not necessarily singable, this work allows for further study and appreciation of great artists in Blues, Jazz and Country.

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heros of the blues
Heroes of the Blues (a Set of 36 Cards)
Text by Stephen Calt
Art by R. Crumb
Though not necessarily singable, this work allows for further study and appreciation of great artists in Blues.

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I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog
Words and Music by Leslie Braunstein
Performed by Peter Paul & Mary
Illustrated by Joshua S. Brunet
ISBN 978-1-936140-37-4

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little blues book crumb
Little Blues Book
By Brian Robertson
Illustrated by R. Crumb
Though not necessarily singable, this work allows for further study and appreciation of great artists in Blues, Jazz and Country.

*
middle child blues
The Middle-Child Blues
By Kristyn Crow
Illustrated by David Catrow
Though not necessarily singable, this book uses The Blues to tell a funny story and thereby nurtures understanding and appreciation for music and The Blues.

*
mixed up morning blues
Mixed-Up Morning blues
By Mark Ross
Illustrated by Nathan Mellott
This CD includes a sing-along recording of “The Mixed-Up Morning Blues”

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ol bloos boogie woodie blues ensemble
Ol’ Bloo’s Boogie-Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble
Story by Jan Huling
Illustrated by Henri Sørensen
Though not necessarily singable, this book embraces the blues as an art form and nurtures musical understanding and appreciation.

*
old cotton blues
The Old Cotton Blues
Written by Linda England
Illustrated by Teresa Flavin
Though not necessarily singable, this book embraces music as an import part of the human experience, nurturing an understanding and appreciation for music.

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One Shoe Blues (Sandra Boynton’s)
Words by Sandra Boynton
Music by Sandra Boynton and Michael Ford
Illustrated by Sandra Boynton
Starring B.B. King

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roots and blues a celebration
Roots and Blues: a Celebration
Poems by Arnold Adoff
Illustrated with Paintings by R. Gregory Christie
More info about the book at this LINK
Though not necessarily singable, this book celebrates The Blues thereby nurtures understanding and appreciation for music and The Blues and artists who played the music.

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ruby sings the blues
Ruby Sings the Blues
Story and Pictures by Niki Daly
This book is Not Necessarily Singable but it embraces the importance of music in our every day lives.

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satchmo's blues
Satchmo’s Blues
By Alan Schroeder
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Though not necessarily singable, this book nurtures musical appreciation and understanding by exploring the life of one of America’s greatest musicians.

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Summertime (from Porgy and Bess)
Words by DuBose Heyward
Music by George Gershwin
Illustrated by Mike Wimmer

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theo and the blue note
Theo and the Blue Note
Story and Pictures by Peter Kuper
Not Necessarily Singable, but a picture books about music and The Blues.

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This Jazz Man

Traditional Tune (Sing to the Tune of  “This Old Man”)
Words Adapted by Karen Ehrhardt
Illustrated by R. G. Roth

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THE WEARY BLUES
Poem by Langston Hughes
“The Weary Blues,” video of Langston Hughes reading his poem with musical underscore

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyqwvC5s4n8

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Not necessarily singable, this book embodies the idea that The Blues were born of the need to express sad feeling in song to make yourself and others feel better,
walking to the bus rider blues
Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues
By Harriette Gillem Robiney

A quote from the book:
“To get my mind off my troubles, I began to sing my bus-rider blues. My teacher said the songs I made up were good…”

Lyrics of the Bus-Rider Blues
“Oh, I’m singing the bus-rider blues,
the Alabamy bus-rider blues.
I got me a feeling, deep down inside,
It ain’t never ever gonna be the same.”

**********************

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Article on American Public Media blog about poet-songwriter Langston Hughes’ songs:
http://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/langston-hughes-songbook/

Quote from the article:

” Music was at the heart of his work, with jazz and blues informing the cadences, structures, and subject matter of many of his poems.”

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*
Information about Martin Scorsese’s documentary THE BLUES
http://www.pbs.org/theblues/index.html

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Regarding  I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog:
Though it is not traditionally a Blues song, it does fit Conan’s definition in that the song deals with a subject that is painful for some (interracial couples  not feeling welcome in their communities) in a way that has the potential to be humorous and to make people happy.

*

I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog
Words and Music by Leslie Braunstein
Performed by Peter Paul & Mary
Illustrated by Joshua S. Brunet
ISBN 978-1-936140-37-4

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The next day I was searching around for Blues Related Singable Picture Books and stumbled on a video featuring the late night talk show host and comic Conan teaching a group of school children about The Blues and working with these first graders to write a Blues song. Hilarity results, but he begins by telling them the purpose of the Blues as a musical art form, “Now, here’s what we do.  To write the Blues, you write about something that’s making you unhappy.  And by singing about something that makes you unhappy, it makes you feel better…”

*

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7f26d-AIrM

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I found a wonderful Blues for Kids CD that I LOVE:

KIDS GET THE BLUES TOO/BLUES FOR BEGINNERS
kids get the blues too brother yusef
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/brotheryusef06

It’s blues alright, but if blues could be joyous and sunny, that’s how I’d describe it.  He makes fabulous blues arrangements for traditional songs that will make hear them with NEW ears and will make you want to hear them again.  I love this album!

I also particularly fell in love with Track 9: Early Sunday Morning on Brother Yusef’s album:

BLUES BY REQUEST BROTHER YUSEF
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/brotheryusef8

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Related Posts

*
BLUES, THE BLUES
The Blues in Illustrated and Otherwise Musically Related Picture Books (yet another list inspired by Nikki)
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/the-blues-in-illustrated-and-otherwise-musically-related-picture-books-yet-another-list-inspired-by-nikki/

*
LANGSTON HUGHES IN SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS AND MUSICAL PICTURE BOOKS FOR CHILDREN

*
Singable Picture Books Celebrating Tolerance and Compassion (another list inspired by Nikki)
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/singable-picture-books-celebrating-tolerance-and-compassion-another-list-inspired-by-nikki/

*
AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH

Singable Picture Books Celebrating African American History Month with Songs, Poems and Illustrations by Prominent African American Artists as well as Musical Picture Books Celebrating Important African American Musical Artists
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/singable-picture-books-celebrating-african-american-history-month/

*
MARTIN LUTHER KING, Jr.

A list of SPBs celebrating the life, legacy and January 16 National Holiday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/singable-picture-books-honoring-the-legacy-of-dr-martin-luther-king-jr/

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PETER YARROW SONGBOOK

A list of the Singable Picture Books from the Peter Yarrow Songbook series:
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/the-case-for-singing-with-children-from-peter-yarrow/

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The Folk Process and Peter Yarrow’s Songbook Series
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/the-folk-process/

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Peter Yarrow Songbook Series, the Importance of Singing for Others and the Folk Process
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/the-case-for-singing-with-children-from-peter-yarrow/

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FUNNY SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS

That’s Hilarious! A List of Singable Picture Books that’ll Crack You Up!
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/thats-hilarious-a-list-of-singable-picture-books-thatll-crack-you-up/

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SUNDAY SCHOOL SONGS
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/sunday-school-songs-in-singable-picture-books/

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TWO BLUES TO MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY
http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/two-blues-to-make-people-happy/

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FAVORITE SINGABLES ON PINTEREST
Of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of choices, this list onPinterest displays the top blockbuster favorite Singable Picture Books that we warble together at Sing Books visits:
http://pinterest.com/singbooksemily/

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NOT NECESSARILY SINGABLE, BUT MUSIC RELATED ON SING BOOKS WITH EMILY, THE BLOG
This is a list of Picture Books that are not necessarily singable, but which have appeared in my blog as books which embrace music as an important and enriching part of our lives.  For a more comprehensive list (including books which have not yet made their way into the Sing Books blog) please see the Pinterest link just below this one:

http://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/picture-books-not-necessarily-singable-which-embrase-music-as-an-important-and-enriching-component-of-our-lives/

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NOT NECESSARILY SINGABLE, BUT MUSIC RELATED ON SING BOOKS WITH EMILY’S PINTEREST
Because of the ease of “Pinning” my PINTEREST list for Not Necessarily Singable but Music Inspired and Music Education Picture Books has overtime become more comprehensive than the list on my blog (please not, however that, though some have appeared in my blog, most are books I’ve discovered online)
http://pinterest.com/singbooksemily/music-inspired-and-music-education-picture-books/

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