Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Music Teacher Books: Perfect Pairings - Christmas Edition

I love using books in my music class at Christmas time! Iza Trapani's Jingle Bells and I Have a Little Dreidel are great for my Kinder and 1st grade babies.

Here are a few of my favorites:

5. The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet by Deborah Hautzig

I love this version because it starts on stage and then morphs into the storyline.

I like to read this and intersperse listening activities in the middle. I would love to find a good ballet book to pair with this for my older grades. Any ideas?

4. Jack Kent's The Twelve Days of Christmas

This book is so sweet because it shows the true mathematical power of adding on a gift each day.

And even better, it's a perfect pair with Letters of Thanks! I read the Jack Kent version to my 4th and 5th graders one week and then bring out Letters of Thanks as a follow-up the next week.

3. Letters of Thanks by Manghanita Kempadoo

I have loved this book since my mom introduced it to me as a little girl. This is a collection of thank you notes from the lady to her "true love" for each of the gifts. 

SPOILER ALERT: She gets very upset as the book goes on. Giggle. 

And the clincher - it was written by an 11-year old girl! My kids think that is awesome! It's definitely written on an 11-year old level. There's not too much depth to it and some awkward details that don't get resolved. (Her partridge is lonely even after the other bird arrive. oops!) It still ranks among my most favorite of Christmas books. :-)

2. The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg

Beautiful pictures!!

My 2nd graders love this imaginative story - the little girls loses her mitten and searches for it while imagining where it's gone. By the end, she decides it would be easier to plant the other mitten and grow a mitten tree! This is a fantastic pair with Frosty Weather or any snowy, winter song.

And of course, it's a Steven Kellogg so I love it! 

1. Santa Claus is Coming to Town illustrated by Steven Kellogg

It's another Steven Kellogg book. drool. I just love the illustrations to this song - and generally my students already know some of the words, so it's a fun read. 

I read it to my 2nd-5th grade students and they love it! It has a little story to go along with it - a little teddy bear has taken a trip to Santa's workshop and when he gets back, he's warning the boys and girls that Santa is watching.

What are your favorite books to use during the holiday season?


  1. Hello Lori. Good to know you through your profile on the blogger. I am glad to stop by your blog "Sweet Sounds" and the post on it. So good to know that you are a music teacher. May the use your music talent to strengthen the body of Christ. I am in the Pastoral ministry for last 34yrs in the great city of Mumbai a city with great contrast a city where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the broken hearted. We also encourage young people as well as adults from the West to come to Mumbai on a short / long term missions trip to work with during their vacation time. We would love to have you come to Mumbai with your friends to work with us during your vacation time. I am sure you will have a life changing experience. May you have a blessed and joyous Christmas and a very prosperous and Christ centered New year. Looking forward to hear from you very soon. My email id is : dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede

  2. I actually based my entire K-2 Christmas concert on Iza Trapani's Jingle Bells book. Each grade took 2 of the countries from the book and we learned about how they celebrate Christmas there and learned a different Christmas carol to go with each:

    Kinders - Mexico - Feliz Navidad; Sweden - The Fox Hurries Over the Ice (which is a traditional Christmas song from Sweden that I created words for in English and arranged the piece for them- really cute)

    1st - Phillipines - We Three Kings (because Three Kings Day is a staple in the Phillipines and ends the 4 MONTH celebration of Christmas), Poland - Come Now Rejoicing (traditional Polish Christmas carol)

    2nd - Italy - Carol of the Bagpipers (traditional Italian Christmas carol); Kenya - Here We Come A-Caroling (because Kenyans go caroling each year)

    1. Brittany- that's awesome! I may have to steal that idea for next year's program. :-) Have you thought about putting this in your TPT store? I bet there would be interest in it.

  3. I love your blog and I have nominated you for a Liebster Award! See the post here.

    Have a great day!

    Rachel Tanenblatt
    Music With Mrs. Tanenblatt

    1. Thanks Rachel! That was so sweet of you! :-)

  4. Hi! I love, love, love books that go with songs I'm teaching or books that have songs in them so I loved your choices here! I found you through TPT. I have a quick question, in one of your resources on TPT you mention playing Kings and Queens. I'm not familiar with that song/game and I could not find it in any of my levels or online. Would you mind posting directions, description, solfa or point me toward a resource where I could play that game with my kids? I really appreciate it :)

    1. Sure! Thanks for stopping by! Actually in the "teacher tips" of each of my "presentation" products, I give the instructions for Kings and Queens. It's a very simple assessment "game" - I tell my students, "We're going to play Kings and Queens. If you want to be a King or Queen of melody (or rhythm, etc.), you have to do three things - your singing voice has to hit the bullseye (matching pitch), you have to say the right words (do, re, mi, or ta tadi takadimi) and you have to use your hands correctly (tapping the rhythm or using hand-signs)." If they do all three of those correctly, I write their name on my board in my fanciest, most swirly handwriting. That's it! So simple! I include a page with a picture of a queen in each of my "presentation" products to remind myself to assess individually before we move on to notation. Let me know if you have any more questions!