Parenting is a Journey
An Adventure of Discovery Not Only of our Children But of Ourselves as Well
Music brings people together, giving us joy in all types of settings. Singing with your child is not only fun, it helps young children’s brain development. Try using shakers so children can follow the beat or finger actions. Like stories, songs build children’s vocabulary and help them hear that words are made of different sounds.
“I Got the Rhythm,” by Connie Schoefield-Morrison, illustrated by Frank Morrison (Bloomsbury; 32 pp.; $16.99; ages 3-7). A young African American girl snaps, claps and taps as she takes a walk with her mother to their local park. This fun picture book shares the contagious delight of moving and grooving. The sound effects encourage audience participation, and the joyful illustrations will make young readers want to get up and dance.
“Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs and Stories from an African American Childhood,” by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Schwartz & Wade / Random House; 173 pp.; $24.99; ages 2-10). This comprehensive collection celebrates the oral tradition of African American communities, sharing a dynamic range of songs, rhymes, and stories. Explaining that “our earliest toys are our hands, feet, and voices,” McKissack encourages readers to try these songs for themselves. Parents, teachers and children will want to dip into this volume time and time again.
“Old MacDonald Had a Truck,” by Steve Goetz, illustrated by Eda Kaban (Chronicle; 40 pp.; $16.99; ages 2-6). Local Bay Area author Goetz makes his debut with this lively twist on the classic Old MacDonald folk song--a sure hit with young readers who love cars, trucks and construction vehicles. The bouncy text encourages singing along, with “a DIG DIG here and a DIG DIG there.” Great fun!
“Sing with Me!: Action Songs Every Child Should Know,” by Naoko Stoop (Holt / Macmillan; 32 pp.; $16.99; ages 0-3). With its simple, classic nursery rhymes and warm, sweet illustrations, this is a perfect volume for new parents--reminding them of old favorites like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Down by the Station”. Simple instructions for hand movements add to the fun, providing support and guidance.
“¡Pio Peep! Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes,” by Alma Flor Ada, F. Isabel Campoy, and Alice Schertle, illustrated by Vivi Escriva (Rayo / HarperCollins; 64 pp.; $15.99; ages 3-7). This delightful collection of nursery rhymes and songs celebrates the Latino oral tradition that spans cultures and continents. The original Spanish rhymes are paired with English versions that are not direct translations, but rather “poetic re-creations”, creating lively rhymes that work well in both languages.
“Rock-a-Bye Romp,” by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani (Nancy Paulsen / Penguin; 32 pp.; $16.99; ages 0-4). This sweet lullaby expands upon the classic nursery rhyme “Rock-a-bye Baby,” adding silly twists as the baby first lands in a bird’s nest, and then atop a pig. The tumbling babe comes to a final rest in the mother’s arms, creating a warm and endearing ending in the nursery. Ashman captures the rhythm and tone of the song in her new verses, making this perfect for singing along.
“Trombone Shorty,” by Troy Andrews, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Abrams Young Readers; 40 pp.; $17.95; ages 4-8). Trombone Shorty’s trombone was taller than him when he was little--and it was so big that it almost knocked him over! Rich collage illustrations and real-life details bring Troy Andrews, his hometown, and the New Orleans musical traditions to life.
“When the Beat Was Born,” by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III (Learn about DJ Cool Herc, the Jamaican DJs who inspired him, his enormous speakers, and the origins of break dancing. Modern illustrations invite the reader into the Bronx dance parties that birthed hip hop music.
“Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin,” by Lloyd Moss, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman (Scholastic; 32 pp.; $16.99; ages 2-6). Swooping rhymes mimic the music of “a chamber group of ten.” The book is a joyful celebration of the beautiful sounds, sights, and emotions of the ten instruments that play a classical concert.
“Charlie Parker Played Be Bop,” by Chris Raschka (Orchard; 32 pp.; $15.95; ages 1-4). Read this book out loud, and the rhymes, rhythmic sounds, and dancing fonts evoke music. Ch
arlie Parker plays his saxophone, while silly objects like lollipops, bus stops, and dancing shoes accompany the percussion sounds. The joy of jazz comes alive for the reader and listeners.
Allyson Bogie is the librarian at Korematsu Middle School in El Cerrito, CA and loves visiting her local public library with her two young children. Mary Ann Scheuer is a teacher librarian at Berkeley Unified School District. Find more books Mary Ann recommends sharing with children at her blog, Great Kid Books, http://greatkidbooks.blogspot.com.