Black Music Highlights at the Library

Diedre Johnson, Office Services Assistant, Library Department,
Collage of books about Black musicians

Music legends don’t start out that way. First, they are children with a love for music and the motivation to learn, even if they face seemingly impossible odds along the way. Below are seven superstars that harnessed their creativity and accomplished their dreams.

Book cover for Beyoncé: Shine Your Light
Beyoncé: Shine Your Light
Warren, Sarah E.

The way the record-breaking, Grammy-award winning entertainer allies with female empowerment is not just for the Beyhive but also for young people everywhere as she explains in this colorful book with illustrations by Geneva Bowers.

Book cover of The green piano : how little me found music
The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music
Flack, Roberta

The story of the music-filled childhood of the five-time Grammy award-winning performer who discovered her love for singing and playing the piano could pay off big time.

Book cover of Aretha franklin
Little People, Big Dream: Aretha Franklin
Sanchez Vegara, Maria Isabel

If the Queen of Soul can make it, so can you! This daughter of a southern preacher was singing lead in the choir at age 12. Despite some hardships along the way, she found her way to fortune and fame, was awarded 20 Grammys and was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Book cover for Rock, Rosetta, Rock! Roll, Rosetta, Roll!: Presenting Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Godmother of Rock
Rock, Rosetta, Rock! Roll, Rosetta, Roll!: Presenting Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Godmother of Rock
Bolden, Tonya

This mid-twentieth-century music sensation has only recently been rediscovered. What many didn’t know was that Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a virtuoso on the Gibson guitar, influenced everyone from Elvis to Eric Clapton with her fusion of gospel, blues, jazz, and (the unknown) rock’n’roll. She began playing guitar at age four, was touring with her mother (a minister) by age six, and was the first gospel performer to record with a major label. This delightful book geared towards seven-to-10-year-olds tells the story in 36 colorful pages.

Book cover of Prince
Little People, Big Dream: Prince
Sánchez Vegara, Ma Isabel

From his first concert at the Capri Theater in Minnesota to the bright lights of Hollywood, Prince played his guitar and thrilled his audiences, winning Grammys, starring in an iconic film all the while keeping his home base in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Take a journey through Prince's life in this version of the children's series.

Book cover of One love
One Love
Marley, Cedella

Daughter of the legendary Bob Marley, Cedella Marley's books (One Love and Everything Little Thing's Gonna Be All Right) are not only tributes to his enduring music but also to its message of love and unity for children and grownups alike.

Book cover of Happy!
Williams, Pharrell

The toe-tapping song that we couldn't help but dance to has become a positive, joy-filled book for young readers. This picture book full of photographs of happy children around the world will both delight and educate.