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Stack Overflow: Songs & Poetry

Books Music Stack Overflow

Some days we need a little cheering up–here are some books filled with songs and poetry that remind you to smile and love each other.

Happy book

Happy by Pharrell Williams

Pharrell’s infectious song wasn’t initially a children’s song, but it certainly had a lot of kid fans–particularly after Despicable Me 2. And now it comes in book form! This picture book has the lyrics to the song, accompanied by adorable photos of a diverse group of kids. There’s a letter to the reader from Pharrell at the end of the book, encouraging kids (and adults) to spread happiness. That’s a message we really need to hear more often.

What a Wonderful World

What a Wonderful World illustrated by Tim Hopgood

This song, written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss, was made famous by Louis Armstrong and his deep, gravelly voice. Tim Hopgood took the lyrics and turned it into a colorful picture book, with a little boy exploring this wonderful world filled with music and love. Like Happy, it’s definitely a feel-good book, and I can’t help singing along when I read this to my daughter.

Goodnight Songs: A Celebration of the Seasons by Margaret Wise Brown

Goodnight Songs: A Celebration of the Seasons by Margaret Wise Brown

Margaret Wise Brown is best known for her classic kids’ books Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny. Hundreds of her unpublished poems and songs were discovered in her sister’s attic well after her death. This book is a collection of twelve of these songs, all about seasons and nature. Each is illustrated by a different artist: David Small, Molly Idle, Bob Staake, and others. The words were set to music by Tom Proutt and Emily Gary, and this book includes a CD so you can listen while you follow along in the book.

Over the Hills and Far Away

Over the Hills and Far Away collected by Elizabeth Hammill

If you love nursery rhymes, you’ll love this treasury, which collects 150 rhymes from around the world. There are 77 illustrators–too many to list here–but they include Ed Young, Emily Gravett, Shaun Tan, Mo Willems, Lucy Cousins, Jon Klassen, as well as some up-and-coming artists you may not have heard of. It’s a beautiful hardcover that’s great for flipping open to any page and reading out loud together.

Books Always Everywhere

Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt, illustrated by Sarah Massini

This picture book is a poem about books! The whole book is made up of little “book” phrases like “Book big, book small.” Each one is illustrated with kids and animals reading and playing with books that match the poem, so there are fun little details to spot. And, of course, the title pretty much describes my house.


Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Lauren Tobia

Happy in Our Skin celebrates our skin (“It keeps the outsides out and your insides in”) and talks about all the things our skin does for us. At the same time, it celebrates our differences and diversity–the way our skin looks different, from hue to freckles and dimples. There are a bunch of kids and families in the pictures, including one interracial family that shows up throughout the book.


I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Rosenthal and Lichtenheld have created many picture books together. I Wish You More is a sort of blessing poem with some wordplay, all about what we wish for those we love. With lines like “I wish you more snowflakes than tongue,” it’s a short, sweet book with wonderful illustrations. I’ve read this one a lot to my toddler.

Disclosure: I received review copies of these books.

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