Last year for Right to Read week our school had the illustrator Christopher Canyon and his wife come in to speak to our students. They are both wonderful artists. Mr. Canyon illustrates many books, but the ones I use most often in my class are the John Denver Songs he has put beautiful pictures to. I have both "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and "Grandma's Feather Bed". He has also illustrated "Sunshine on my Shoulders". Kids love these books. They love to look at the artwork- which is drawn to make the pages look like a quilt (see below)- and to sing along to the songs. I tie in the history of the songs, as well as folk music/ ballads and we listen and sing other types of folk music as well. Older kids learn the Dulcimer and do folk dances too.
The backs of the books are great because they not only have the music for a teacher to play, but they also have specific information on each song- how John Denver came to write the words, where it was first performed, the inspiration behind the song, etc.
While I was hesitant to use these books at first, because I have heard of teachers who have their kids sing along to John Denver for a full hour of music (my friends student teaching experience), the kids really do love them and ask for them to be repeated again and again.