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Get Your Groove On: Fabulous Children's Books About Hip Hop

Updated: Nov 2, 2023


2023 marks 50 years of Hip Hop! These children's books are perfect for commemorating the milestone and for introducing kids to the magic of Hip Hop. We've also included two fabulous new adult reads that make perfect gifts for the Hip Hop lovers in your life.


For your convenience, we've included publisher's descriptions along with each book.

This definitive guide to hip-hop teaches kids about the history and world-wide cultural impact of the genre, covering everyone from early heroes like The Sugar Hill Gang, Kurtis Blow, and Run D.M.C., to modern day titans like Kanye West, Cardi B, and Kendrick Lamar.


In the 1970s, a musical and cultural movement was sparked in the Bronx neighborhood of New York City. Led by three DJs who performed at local block parties, DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash become known as the "Holy Trinity" of hip-hop and they helped establish the four main pillars of the genre: deejaying, mc'ing, break dancing, and graffiti art.


From these early days, acclaimed journalist and music critic Jordannah Elizabeth takes kids on a journey through the history of hip-hop, helping young readers understand how and why it was invented, and how it evolved into a powerful platform that gave (and still gives) a voice to the often-ignored Black community in America. From Tupac Shakur and Ms. Lauryn Hill to Drake and Tyler the Creator, kids will celebrate some of hip-hop's biggest names while learning about the roots of their musical sounds, and the community that propelled them into stardom.


Packed with modern, charming illustrations, including a pull-out poster for kids to color, A Child's Introduction to Hip-Hop features age-appropriate descriptions of a musical genre that is changing the world and dominating the airwaves. This is the perfect book for young students who want to know more about the world of hip-hop and rap, as well as for parents who want to introduce their children to some of their favorite artists.



A generation voicing

stories, hopes, and fears

founds a hip-hop nation.

Say holler if you hear.


The roots of rap and the history of hip-hop have origins that precede DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash. Kids will learn about how it evolved from folktales, spirituals, and poetry, to the showmanship of James Brown, to the culture of graffiti art and break dancing that formed around the art form and gave birth to the musical artists we know today. Written in lyrical rhythm by award-winning author and poet Carole Boston Weatherford and complete with flowing, vibrant illustrations by Corettta Scott King Award winner, Frank Morrison, this book beautifully illustrates how hip-hop is a language spoken the whole world 'round, and it features a foreword by Swizz Beatz, a Grammy Award-winning American hip-hop rapper, DJ, and record producer.



A groundbreaking new anthology of rhymes and rhythms!


Hip Hop Speaks to Children is a celebration of poetry with a beat. Like Poetry Speaks to Children, the classic book and CD that started it all, it’s meant to be the beginning of a journey of discovery. Readers can immerse themselves in 51 selections from 42 poets and performers, and 30 performances on the audio CD, many recorded especially for this collection.


Some tracks on the CD are performed by the artists who created them, others are unique interpretations by admiring poets and artists. Hear a musical interpretation of Sterling Brown’s poem “Long Track Blues” and a youth performance of Elizabeth Swados’s poem “Me” plus much more! The audio CD also includes contributions from:

Nikki Grimes, Queen Latifah, Langston Hughes, Sugarhill Gang, Charles R. Smith, Jr., Stetsasonic, James Berry, A Tribe Called Quest, Gary Soto, and more!



Mic check! Learn your ABCs with Queen Latifah in the Legends of Hip-Hop board book series.


In this accessible series perfectly crafted for babies (and adult fans), music producer Pen Ken and 3x Emmy Award-nominated animation director Saxton Moore introduce mini emcees to some of hip-hop's biggest and brightest luminaries with fun facts about each rapper, organized by a teachable concept.


In this book, children will meet Queen Latifah and learn the entire alphabet!

Check out other books in the series, including Legends of Hip-Hop: 2Pac.



Mic check! Learn to count with 2Pac in the Legends of Hip-Hop board book series.


In this accessible series perfectly crafted for babies (and adult fans), music producer Pen Ken and 3x Emmy Award-nominated animation director Saxton Moore introduce mini emcees to some of hip-hop's biggest and brightest luminaries with fun facts about each rapper, organized by a teachable concept.


In this book, children will meet 2Pac and count to 12! Check out other books in the series, including Legends of Hip-Hop: Queen Latifah.



Mic check! Learn your opposites with groundbreaking rapper Biggie Smalls in the Legends of Hip-Hop board book series.


Who is Biggie Smalls? One of the greatest rappers of all time! Babies will learn about Biggie's roots and musical influences, his signature flow, and his career, all while learning opposites like "big" and "small" and "fast" and "slow."


In this sizable and sturdy board book, music producer Pen Ken and three-time Emmy Award–nominated animation director Saxton Moore introduce tiny readers to some of hip-hop’s biggest and brightest luminaries with fun facts about each rapper, organized by a teachable concept.



Co-authored by Hip-Hop legend LL COOL J, acclaimed journalist Vikki Tobak and Rock The Bells' editorial director Alec Banks, this momentous volume celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the influential culture, sound, and preeminent voices of American Hip-Hop music.


LL COOL J Presents The Streets Win commemorates the birth, rise, and progression of Hip-Hop's culture and its indisputable impact on American music over the past fifty years. Vikki Tobak, Alec Banks and LL COOL J reveal the journey of this music genre through rarely seen photographs of Hip-Hop from its inception, from block party performances to street shots, parties, sessions at recording studios, and more. The imagery is accompanied by first-person recollections from Hip-Hop's MCs, B-Boys, graffiti artists, and DJs who share how they fell in love with Hip-Hop, broke into the business, their artistic and personal style inspiration, and their views on Hip-Hop's culture and music. Stories are told by icons DJ Kool Herc, Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte, KRS-One, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Grandmaster Flash, Run-D.M.C., Beastie Boys, De La Soul, Slick Rick, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Big Daddy Kane, Fat Joe, DJ Khaled and more.


Each page features a treasure trove of images by celebrated Hip-Hop photographers including Joe Conzo Jr., Ernie "Brother Ernie" Paniccioli, Jonathan Mannion, Janette Beckman, Estevan Oriol, Jamel Shabazz, Mike Miller, Clay Patrick McBride, and others who documented the growth; ephemera such as album covers, notebook drawings, and lyrics; party announcements; street scenes; clothing; and graffiti art. This definitive volume of the most important origin stories from the last fifty years of Hip-Hop is the perfect gift for music and photography fans.



On a hot summer night in August of 1973, DJ Kool Herc and his sister, Cindy, put on a "back to school jam" in the rec room of their apartment block at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the West Bronx. The rest is history. The birth of hip hop rippled out across the globe, influencing music and fashion for generations.


Fresh Fly Fabulous: 50 Years of Hip Hop Style draws on the experiences and memories of those who were there, from a foreword by Slick Rick, to interviews with Disco Fever club owner Sal Abbatiello and designers Dapper Dan and April Walker, to chapters from Vibe stylist Emil Wilbekin and former editor of The Source Kim Osorio. Topics cover the range of hip hop's influential style over the past half century, tracing the evolution from early hip hop style, born of aspiration, individuality, and practicality to contemporary fashion steeped in luxury brands.


Hip hop style is a local story, told through spotlights on Times Square as an early fashion space, as well as an international phenomenon, shown in the prominence of hip hop fashion leaders on red carpets. Inventiveness, the art of the remix, and a diverse set of influences are consistent themes in sections that examine hip hop style from hair and nails to shoes and sneakers.


Fresh Fly Fabulous is the definitive source for hip hop style, brought to life by the groundbreaking photographers who captured it firsthand, including Janette Beckman, Jamel Shabazz, and Ernie Paniccioli.



Looking for more great read aloud ideas? Visit these fabulous book lists:

 

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