Music takes the spotlight in Fort Worth this month with the return of the annual Fort Worth Opera Festival and the Fort Worth Library's Third Thursday Jazz Series. Explore the world of music by checking out these books, all available at local libraries.
Sing Me a Story
by Jane Rosenberg
Thames and Hudson, 1989
For ages 8-12
Jane Rosenberg, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Opera Guild, presents 15 illustrated summaries of famous operas including Carmen, Porgy and Bess and La Bohème. The idea is to give children a background story to enhance their first opera experiences. The summaries are broken down by act, so that students may easily follow along, even if the opera is performed in a foreign language. Luciano Pavarotti gives a lovely introduction to the book, saying "kings and queens, princes and princesses, dwarfs, witches, wizards and dragons -- and for sure you will hear in the music good and evil, love and hate, and even war and peace."
Bravo! Brava! A Night at the Opera with Composers, Cast and Crew
by Anne Siberell
Oxford University Press, 2001
For ages 8-12
This book answers typical questions children may have about opera. How did it begin? Who is on the stage? Who is backstage? Children will come away understanding that even though just a few people are usually onstage at a time, there are many more people involved in the production. Page spreads are dedicated to certain aspects of the opera. For example, the section about those onstage discusses the opera singers themselves, vocal ranges of those singers, the ballet, the chorus and the supernumerary actors. A brief description is given of each group, and often a drawing is included to further explain what they might look like onstage. Another drawing maps out where the various vocal ranges correspond with piano keys.
Music Was IT
by Susan Goldman Rubin
For ages 9-12
Young musicians will be inspired by this new biography of conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, most famous for writing the score to West Side Story. We read about his life from birth to his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall, where he became an overnight sensation. Before Bernstein's tim-famous conductor, but Bernstein's passion, determination and charm made him a superstar.
Children will especially appreciate the dynamics of Bernstein's attraction to music as a child. He created fun games with his sister and friends based on music. Readers will see his determination when Bernstein starts to teach other children in his neighborhood how to play piano as a result of his father not giving him enough money for lessons. Black and white photographs of Bernstein and his family and teachers give readers a strong sense of what the 1930s and 40s were like.
by Jane Breskin Zalben
Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
For ages 10-12
Allegra -- Ally -- is almost 13 but is already a disciplined young musician studying piano at the Juilliard PreCollege music program. Both of her parents are musicians, so Ally's devotion to music is pretty much a requirement, but as spring turns into summer Ally has her doubts about everything. Summer is not filled with sun and fun but instead with music classes and commitments. Is playing the piano worth it? She knows how disappointed her parents would be if she gives up, but as fall approaches, her feelings of confusion do not go away. Does she really love playing the piano? Does she want to become a musician?
This is an enjoyable book that explains the commitment it takes to nurture a talent.
M Is for Music
by Kathleen Krull; illustrations by Stacy Innerst
For ages 3-8
M Is for Music is an alphabet book based on the words of music. Each page spread introduces readers to one of the 26 letters. Here the upper- and lowercase letter are given, along with words associated with music that begin with that letter. Fun paintings illustrate the letter and words. For example, "B is for Beatles" has a portrait of each member of the Fab Four. "F is for finger-snapping folk song" and "S is for street musicians singing slow tunes, spirituals and serenades" are two more of the creative letter associations. Other words that begin with the letter float around the illustrations, such as sitar, salsa, solo, soprano and symphony for "s." Children will enjoy learning about the many aspects of music in this fun and interesting book.
Victoria the Violin Fairy
by Daisy Meadows
For ages 7-9
Victoria the Violin Fairy is a beginning chapter book from the series "The Music Fairies." This book is a fun and satisfying story for young readers. Black and white cartoonlike illustrations are on most pages. The main story of each book revolves around Kirsty and Rachel and their efforts to save the day when Jack Frost and his goblins have stolen the music fairies' instruments so they can sound better at the National Talent Competition. Each of the seven books in the series focuses on a specific missing instrument; in this book, the girls are trying to help Victoria, the fairy who plays the violin. This is a fun book for children who may enjoy a little whimsy.