Ever listen to Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns n' Roses, Every Little Thing by Bob Marley, or Happy! by Pharrell Williams and think, "This song could totally be a children's picture book!"? Maybe not. Someone, somewhere thought so though, because all of those songs and so many more have been adapted into beautiful books for sharing with your children. Browse through the Sing A Song Picture Books list to discover new interpretations of your favorite music from popular artists.
And, on the flip side, there is one artist's interpretation of some great picture books of the last few decades. Emily Arrow offers up Storytime Singalong Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, perfect for sharing with any kiddos that love the books featured on those lists!
Beastie Boys Book - Everything you never knew you wanted to know about Beastie Boys. We have the requisite (behind the scenes stories and pictures), but also the random (including a comic story and a Roy Choi cookbook).
One of my favorite parts is a short but hilarious story about their friend and fellow musician “The Diabolical Biz Markie”. If you haven’t heard it before, check out their track “Benny and the Jets” (a cover of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets”) which features Biz Markie mumbling and singing out of tune, resulting in a perfectly imperfect song. From the album Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science.
Larger Than Life: A History of Boy Bands From NKOTB to BTS
This colorful book shares all the indulgent details of the most famous boy bands from the last three decades or so. A true guilty pleasure read.
Usually people read a book first and then see the movie, but most of these picks actually inspired me to read the books after watching the film version:
Before there was Bridgerton, there was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. There are nine very long books in this series and so far there are 5 seasons of DVD’s. It continues to be in production as they work through the time travel saga of Jamie and Claire…I think book 6 will be the next season to be released and they always leave you wanting to know what will happen next.
My Brilliant Friend
This is the first title in a quartet of books by Elena Ferrante that follows the friendship of two neighborhood school girls in Italy through their youth, marriages, adulthood, and maturity. Watching the first season dvd left me needing to know what happened next, so I voraciously read the books during lockdown which felt like a trip to Italy at the time.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore
This short film was a creation by children’s book author William Joyce. It’s an Oscar-winning 15-minute animated short. He was inspired to create the film after Hurricane Katrina and it's a beautiful tribute to books and those who love them. Interestingly enough, the film was created first and the author produced the book afterwards.
This book by Wendelin VanDraanen is one of my favorite children’s middle-grade books and was one of the titles in a Book2Movie group discussion series that another librarian and I hosted some years ago. It also left quite an impression on actor, director Rob Reiner, who after reading it was inspired to make the film version. It’s a story told in the two voices of Bryce and Juli, who are neighbors and classmates at school, and chronicles their friendship through the years.
Sometimes the movie is better than the book - this is the case in my opinion with The Godfather by Mario Puzo. I had read the book years before the movie came out, and it was good, but the movie is a masterpiece and so is the soundtrack.
My Brilliant Friend, the first book of 4 Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante was made into an Italian/American television series. In Italian and Neapolitan dialect with English subtitles, the series is remarkably authentic to the book. The music, including the Four Seasons Recomposed by Max Richter is also fantastic.
Jane Austen's Emma has been made into many movies and even though I'm not a Jane Austen fanatic, I really enjoyed the newest film with Anja Taylor-Joy. It's more comedic than some versions, and visually stylish. Serious Austen fans seem to favor this BBC mini-series though, and it's probably truest (and longest) to the book. Then there's Clueless, the all-time favorite 1990's teen movie classic, which everyone seems to love even if they think they wouldn't like that type of movie. I plan to watch it!
Finally, one of the best updates of all time, West Side Story, has it all. Based on Romeo and Juliet, with fabulous choreography, it's got one of the greatest soundtracks of all time. The movie is also streaming on Kanopy. The new version by Steven Spielberg isn't out on disc or streaming yet, but I think it's as good as the original. For the straight Shakespearean version, my favorite is the one by Franco Zeffirelli, which is available on dvd and streaming on Kanopy, with another beautiful soundtrack by Nino Rota.
Movies & Music - Question of the Week
At the age of 22, filmmaker Cameron Crowe went undercover to pose as a high school student and wrote about his experiences for the book that would be the basis for this classic '80s teen flick.
The Breakfast Club0
Never Been Kissed0
Fast Times at Ridgemont High0
Last Week's Trivia Answer: Parrotheads