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A History of Music for Children

Mary Richards, David Schweitzer, Rose Blake


A musical journey around the world to meet the composers, musicians and performers who are famous for making the music we love

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A History of Music for Children takes readers on a musical journey around the world to meet a diverse cast of composers, musicians and performers. From Bach to Billie Eilish, Mozart to Miriam Makeba, the music makers in this book are connected by a love of creating and performing music. Tackling big questions including What is music? and Why do we make it?, it looks beyond the Western canon and explores the many exciting ways that music is composed, improvised, listened to, recorded, and passed on from generation to generation.

Includes an online playlist organized by chapter that children can listen to as they read

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'So inspired and patiently crafted, with such a beautiful palette. When I read it, it was as if I was transported to my childhood - miraculous. These days, at the push of a button one can reference all these amazing artistes, which will open the door to worlds of music that seep deep into the soul, and our personal shambhala. This book really is a beautiful gift and a work of art'
Chaz Jankel

'An amazing history of music, really brought to life by the illustrations and diverse examples!'
Alexis Taylor, Hot Chip

'Hurrah! An eminently readable, resolutely unsoppy guide to the exciting, often cryptic world of music. Rose Blake’s characteristically witty and saucy illustrations throughout will delight her fans of all ages'
Nick Lowe

'The magical story of music presented as one glorious, boundary-free jumble of creation where Mozart, DJ Kool Herc and 12th-century choral works feature on the same page. Enthralling, inspiring, boldly original and with the funniest and most charming illustrations'
Mark Ellen, music writer and broadcaster

'I've read a stack of other histories of music and couldn't recommend any of them to a child – they were always written from the perspective of one tribe, excluding others, or else they were sunk by heavy-handed agendas. Mary Richards and David Schweitzer have produced an inclusive survey which glows with unforced enthusiasm for the endless variety of music-making. Rose Blake's vibrant illustrations are a perfect match for the text – genial, generous-spirited, surprisingly ambitious, and fun'
Michel Faber

'A musical journey around the world ... tackles big questions'

'A riot of colour & musical facts'

'[A] wide-ranging, accessible and rich resource for musical exploration - a feast for eyes, ears and mind!'
The School Librarian

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: PLC (with jacket)

Size: 27.9 x 21.6 cm

Extent: 96 pp

Publication date: 26 August 2021

ISBN: 9780500652473

Contents List

1. What is Music?
2. Exploring Music
3. Creating Music
4. Feeling Music
5. Seeing Music
6. Performing and Listening to Music
7. What's Next for Music?
Timeline of Inventions, Glossary, Ideas for Listening

About the Author

Mary Richards is a publisher, author and illustrator. She adapted and edited David Hockney’s bestselling A History of Pictures for Children, and is the author of Splat!: The Most Exciting Artists of All Time, both published by Thames & Hudson. David Schweitzer is a composer and songwriter. He has written music for children’s TV shows including Charlie & Lola, The Cat in the Hat, Angry Birds and Miffy. He has also scored documentaries and drama, including the 2020 film, Emma. Together with Mary, he runs a children’s orchestra in London. Rose Blake is an award-winning artist and illustrator who has illustrated numerous books for children, including A History of Pictures for Children.

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