When it comes to introducing kids to opera, most people ask, “Which operas are kid-friendly?” This is certainly an important question to ask, and nothing beats the experience of seeing an opera live for the first time. Still, it is not the only way to introduce kids to opera.
Some kids may feel hesitant to go do something new with no prior information. Other kids may not have access to live opera. Still others may simply be too young for certain performances. However, many kids learn about new subjects by reading. There are a number of excellent opera books for kids out there, along with books about composers, symphonies, or classical music in general.
If there is a child in your life that you’d like to introduce opera to, here’s a list of opera books for kids to get you started. While it is not a comprehensive list, it does cover a variety of topics in the opera world.
Opera Cat is easily my favorite book on this list. The story of Alma, the cat who just wanted to sing opera like her owner, is adorable and well-illustrated. Although I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I’m pleased to hear that there’s a sequel as well with Encore, Opera Cat.
Although I would have preferred that this book be about a composing dog rather than a singing one based on the title, it is delightful all the same. Ever wonder if your dog’s howling is him singing doggie opera? You might after you read this book.
Dogs singing opera seems to be a popular theme (for good reason). Similar to our Opera Cat, this pooch Pasha just wants to sing like her master.
Opera singing cats and dogs and… mice? In this book, an opera-loving mouse gets swept up by Mozart’s The Magic Flute, but it may get him in danger with the opera house’s cat.
Switching gears a bit, this book dives more into the world of opera as it actually exists. More specifically, this book give a behind-the-scenes experience of opera, which introduces kids to composers, the cast, and the crew behind an opera.
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Every good operatic library has at least one synopsis book, and as far as opera books for kids go, this is the go-to for operatic stories. This book also stands well on its own since the operas they chose are often already based on children’s stories.
The Magic Flute is always a great starter opera for kids, and this book serves as a great guide to Mozart’s masterpiece. Not only is it a captivating story on its own, it also comes with a parent-teacher guide to bridge the gap from story to stage.
If we’re introducing kids to the stories of opera, why not introduce them to their composers as well? Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is easily one of the most important operatic composers of all time, and this book would make a great companion piece to The Magic Flute. Furthermore, there’s a children’s book that talks about his sister, Maria Anna Mozart, who was equally as talented but much less recognized.
Verdi is not exactly the opera composer you think of when considering operas for kids. Still, Verdi for Kids manages to make his life and work accessible to young ones, while also talking about Italian opera and operatic culture as a whole.
All of these books can serve as great companion pieces to operatic recordings, or seeing an opera live. Or, they can stand on their own. Either way, if there’s a child in your life that you’d like to introduce to this amazing art from, these opera books for kids will definitely get you going.
What are your favorite opera books for kids? If we missed your favorite, let us know and we’ll add it!
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