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JazzTimes 10: Hip Jazz Books for Kids

Words and pictures that tell swingin' stories

What’s one of the best ways to make a jazz fan for life? Start early. The books listed below can help, and they’re just 10 out of many excellent jazz-related children’s books that have been published in the past quarter-century or so. No rankings here, as these titles aren’t all meant for the same age group—although kids from preschool to middle school and beyond are likely to get a kick out of each one.

Birth of the Cool by Kathleen Cornell Berman (illustrated by Keith Henry Brown) - Page Street Kids, 2019

<i>Birth of the Cool</i> by Kathleen Cornell Berman (illustrated by Keith Henry Brown) - Page Street Kids, 2019

Reading—or being read—the story of these adorable computer-illustrated bugs and their quest for nightclub glory introduces youngsters to several important concepts: improvisation, the power of being part of a band, and the notion of music as a language (or, indeed, many languages).

Learn more about The Jazz Fly on Amazon!

Honorable Mention: 
Mick Carlon: Riding on Duke’s Train (Leapfrog Press, 2011)
Roxane Orgill and Leonard Jenkins (illustrator): If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2002)
Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney: Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra (Hyperion, 1998)

JazzTimes 10: Great Jazz Memoirs 

Mac Randall

Mac Randall

Mac Randall served a the editor of JazzTimes from May 2018 through January 2023. Prior to that, he wrote regularly for the magazine. He has written about numerous genres of music for a wide variety of publications over the past 30 years, including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New York Observer, Mojo, and Guitar Aficionado, and he has worked on the editorial staffs of Musician, LAUNCH (now Yahoo! Music), Guitar One, Teaching Music, Music Alive!, and In Tune Monthly. He is the author of two books, Exit Music: The Radiohead Story and 101 Great Playlists. He lives in New York City.