Outstanding Children's Book on The Beatles

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There is something inexplicable about the best group in the world.

Why were The Beatles so interesting?

Even today's children are fascinated with them.

Can it be just the amazing music?

Or their unusual mop tops?

Or maybe the bigger-than-life Beatlemania phenomenon?

Admittedly, they had larger-than-life personalities that helped fuel interest.

Yet, at the same time always seemed like just four ordinary boys who were doing something they love.

My eight-year old twins demonstrated eager interest for The Beatles when I played them some of the classic Fab Four songs.

However, they got really interested when I showed them some videos of the whole Beatlemania phenomenon and a recording of the group's famous last concert on the roof of Apple headquarters at 3 Savile Row!

But, I knew that this fascination with The Beatles was just the top of the iceberg.

There was room for a read aloud rendezvous with the Fab Four in our house.

Why, you ask?

Well, make no mistake, the real story of the individual Beatles is even more interesting than the story of the group.

It is a story of hardship and success.

A story of loss and love.

A story of creativity and genius.

I simply had to find the best read aloud book about The Beatles to read to my children.

The Beatles were not simply a rock and roll group ... they were young people who overcome great challenges because they worked and believed in themselves.

I wanted that story about the individuals behind the group.

The skeleton story goes like this:

1. The Beatles were an English rock band.

2. They got together in Liverpool in 1960.

3. They became famous and recorded some of the best music from the last century.

But they were much more than that.
George Harrison, Paul McCartney,
Ringo Starr and John Lennon

I wanted my kids to hear how they got to that point of global success.

The history behind the glitter.

It is a story of hard work and talent, not a story of luck and chance.

The four Beatles loved their music, they practiced for hours on end and they played in front of all kinds of crowds.

Several years ago The Beatles reminded me of the 10,000 hour rule.

The rules states that if one sets aside around 10,000 hours to practice a skill (playing musical instruments, learning a foreign language, drawing, riding a skateboard), one crosses the threshold that makes them an expert in that certain discipline.

Yes, The Beatles are a positive example of doing what you love - successfully, through hard work.

The Toppermost of the Poppermost

The Beatles will exist without us.George Harrison

So, after searching through the available children's books on The Beatles, I found what I was looking for.

I found what I thought would be the 'toppermost of the poppermost' books on the Fab Four!

But this book - Who Were The Beatles? - was much better than I expected.

Read Aloud Dad does not usually cry during a book reading.

But Who Were The Beatles?  made me cry.

Yes, I had found the best read aloud children's book about John, Paul, George and Ringo.

What I love about Who Were The Beatles?  is that it shows the persons behind the personas. 

Author Geoff Edgers makes a point of showing that the most formative days of the four Beatles were before they created the group, not after.

Three of the four Beatles, in fact, had difficult or very difficult childhoods.

Yet, this adversity only made their smiles shine even brighter.

Who Were The Beatles? is organized in 12 chapters, but the book is not a long one. The story fits in less than 100 pages - but it somehow manages to touch upon all the key moments.

I simply love the story's presentation and the sensitive manner in which it is written.

The first two-page chapter - called Who Were The Beatles? - explains how famous they were and how relevant they remain today.

But the next four chapters are crucial in setting up the story, as in each of them - we find out about the childhoods of the four Beatles.

And this part of the book is so surprising for any modern child aware of the global fame that The Beatles enjoyed.

Today's children do not expect that this popular group could have been anything but rich and famous.

But it was a completely different story and my children were amazed to hear the first four chapters - each of which was dedicated to one of The Beatles.

I love that the Who Were The Beatles?  book gives precedence to the human side of the story, while their fame and fortune is the backdrop.

If you don't know about the early lives of John, Paul, George and Ringo - just take a peek below what kind of boys they were.


John Lennon was born during a Luftwaffe bombing raid on run-down Liverpool in October 1940.

He lived with his mom and grandparents, while his dad Alfred was mostly away from home - working on ships.

Alfred stopped sending money back home and John's mom could not even afford to buy her son a bed to sleep in.

That's how poor John Lennon was.

And from there, things only got worse. His mom Julia was no longer able to take care of him, so poor John had to move in with his aunt Mimi.

Julia still visited and even presented John Lennon with his first guitar and she helped him to learn how to play it.

John Lennon started getting into trouble at school and he only excelled in art class where he loved to create little books of his own.

Just a couple of months before John celebrated his 18th birthday he got the news that his beloved mom Julia was killed in a traffic accident.

The only thing that kept John Lennon going was his love of music and he adored listening to his favorite singer Elvis Presley.

Lennon started emulating Elvis and started playing guitar - then he decided to set up his own band with friends from his school - known by the name  Quarry Bank High School - and he called his group the Quarrymen.


The story of Paul McCartney's young life also has a sad twist to it. 

He was a popular kid and an applied one at school. He was good at drawing and writing and loved Elvis Presley, just as much John Lennon did. 

Paul McCartney also adored Little Richard, the larger than life musician who was a great performer on stage.

The key musical influence in his life, however, was Paul's dad who was a piano player in a jazz band and he introduced the world of music into Paul's life. 

There is a very nice quote in Who Were The Beatles? - that succinctly explains how Paul's life was clearly changed by music.

"The minute he got a guitar, that was the end," said Michael, Paul's younger brother. "He was lost. He didn't have time to eat or think about anything else."

But just as Paul got serious about music, his mother Mary McCartney became ill. She didn't want to upset her family and kept the news to herself.

Alas she died when Paul was only fourteen years old. He managed to channel part of his sadness into music and his first song was called "I Lost My Little |Girl".


Just when my twins thought they were going to hear that one of The Beatles had an easy and privileged childhood, we came to this chapter about Ringo Starr.

In fact, Ringo Starr had the hardest childhood of them all.

Ringo, or Richard Starkey as was his real name, carried the same first name as his father. But his father left the family when Ringo was only three.

Ringo was a very lonely kid and to make matters worse he ended up in a Liverpool hospital with a burst appendix just before he turned seven.

The situation was so critical that he fell into a coma ... and he did not come out of it for almost three full months.

Ringo's recovery was slow and he remained in the hospital for a full year, before he was released to return home.

Not surprisingly, life had moved on and Ringo found himself lagging behind his classmates in almost all subjects - isolating him further.

Maybe he would have caught up, but when he turned thirteen - Ringo got sick again and this time when he was admitted to the hospital he ended up staying two years.

As the song goes - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Ringo had no school in hospital, but he learned to play drums.


George Harrison, the youngest Beatle, was the exception among the group as he had a relatively normal and tragedy-free childhood.

He was not exceptional in his young years and certainly no big music lover as a small child, yet he begged his mom to buy him a guitar in his early teens.

George became almost obsessed with playing and could play for hours on end. Later he switched the conventional guitar for an electric one, formed a band with one of his older siblings and ... as fate would have it - he met Paul McCartney on a bus in Liverpool.

They became friends and even began jamming together at Paul's house.

The rest of the story is history and you will find it tugging the strings of your heart as you progress through the remaining chapters of this marvelous book.

All of the important moments in lives of The Beatles are covered - the initial group lineups without Ringo, from their fateful decision to go to play in Hamburg, meeting Brian Epstein, saying goodbye to drummer Pete Best and replacing him with Ringo Starr.

The story also takes the reader through the initial successes, the famed trip to America and the explosion of Beatlemania, the fights, the marriages and the inevitable break-up of the group.

Fortunately, author Geoff Edgers does not break off the story in 1970, but continues to follow the individual Beatles in their attempts to continue their musical careers ... and he treats the shocking assassination on John Lennon - extremely sensitively.

This book made me choke on my tears as I was nearing the end.

My kids adored it!

It made The Beatles so much more human - with their ups and downs, with their troubled childhoods and different temperaments.

I knew that Who Were The Beatles? would be a good read aloud - but I wasn't aware that it was going to be virtually perfect!

What is your favorite children's book on the Fab Four?

Who Were The Beatles? can be found from book stores in the US:


The Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)

and in other countries:

Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon DE

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