February 2nd, 2016
"To Everyone in All the World" is a pretty little song about world peace and understanding. Two great musicians, Pete Seeger and Raffi have wonderful renditions of this song. It seems to have been written by Pete Seeger, though Raffi calls it "Traditional" on his cd. You can listen to the song in the YouTube […]
January 15th, 2016
Martin Luther King’s Day is celebrated on the 3rd Monday of January every year. When you consider the life of Martin Luther King Jr., you feel inspired to live a life making the world a better place… to push for a world that honors love, justice and equality. He’s a real role model for children […]
January 13th, 2016
We were very sad to hear that David Bowie passed away this week. Astronaut Chris Hadfield paid a wonderful tribute to Bowie by recording and filming a rendition his song, "Space Oddity" while aboard the Space Station in 2013. You can watch the video below… Bowie approved of the video when it came out. He […]
December 20th, 2015
Edith Piaf was born 100 years ago today. She’s regarded as France’s National chanteuse (singer). Here’s her most well-known song, La vie en rose for your listening pleasure…
December 14th, 2015
Happy 90th Birthday to Dick Van Dyke! Watch a flash mob perform for him a dancing medley from Mary Poppins in the video below. At the end, Dick Van Dyke sings along with them! What a happy guy! Enjoy! Mama Lisa
December 2nd, 2015
"Hallelujah" is a beloved Christmas Carol. It comes from Handel’s Messiah (#44 Hallelujah Chorus), written in English. Here you can enjoy a performance of Hallelujah by the Paris Choral Society and read along with lyrics. Paris Choral Society Flash Mob Sings the Messiah Hallelujah Hallelujah (Lyrics) Hallelujah, hallelujah Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah! Hallelujah, hallelujah Hallelujah, hallelujah, […]
November 30th, 2015
There are many old cylinder recordings you can listen to online. Some are100 years old, so the quality varies. Check out these sites: UC Santa Barbara Library (Over 10,000 recordings – You can search by song type, language and subject.) Les pages de l’Archéophone (in French and English – click on appropriate flag for the […]
November 9th, 2015
Austrian American actress Hedy Lamarr (1914 – 2000) is an unlikely person to have revolutionized the world of technology! She started as a successful Hollywood actress, eventually got bored and developed a communications system to guide missiles for the Allies in WWII. However, the methods she developed weren’t technologically feasible during the 1940’s. It wasn’t […]
January 29th, 2014
Beloved folksinger, Pete Seeger, in his own words in honor of his passing… "Once upon a time wasn’t singing a part of everyday life? As much as talking, physical exercise, and religion? Our distant ancestors, wherever they were in this world, sang while pounding grain, paddling canoes, or walking long journeys. Can we begin to […]
November 19th, 2013
The Gettysburg Address is a speech by Abraham Lincoln delivered exactly 150 years ago from this day. It’s one of the most well-known American speeches. It was delivered during the Civil War, 4 1/2 months after the Union Army beat the Confederacy in the Battle of Gettysburg. It was given during the dedication of the […]
April 18th, 2013
Check out the short video below… Astronaut, Chris Hadfield wrings out a washcloth on the International Space Station. It’s so cool! Show it to your kids and watch it. It will make you feel like a kid again.
February 7th, 2013
All kids should watch this video below for inspiration… it’s a good answer the question, "Why should I do well in school?"
August 22nd, 2012
"A line is a dot that went for a walk." –Paul Klee (Artist) What a great quote! Here are some videos based on that concept… Here’s an animated one… Here’s one where the dot goes from one kids drawing to another… Enjoy! Mama Lisa
May 17th, 2012
Paul Simon’s song April Come She Will seems to be loosely based around the rhyme The Cuckoo and an English ballad called Cuckoo Song. You can read both below… The Cuckoo In April, Come he will. In May, He sings all day. In June, He changes his tune. In July, He prepares to fly. In […]
April 24th, 2012
I love this image and it’s caption from Ladies Home Journal in 1921. Women had just earned the right to vote the previous year in the US. Here’s the inscription… “A very healthy curiosity, if not a real interest, concerning public affairs is growing up among women.” You have to respect this given the time […]
November 11th, 2011
Nancy Silverrod, a Librarian, wrote to me about a variation of the rhyme Miss Lucy Had a Baby called Miss Lulu. She was wondering if it has a connection to Susan B. Anthony and her alligator purse! Susan B Anthony was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement. Here’s what Nancy wrote: There are numerous […]
October 17th, 2011
There’s a jump rope rhyme about Lincoln Beachey (1887 – 1915) one of the earliest aviators. He was the first to do many stunts while flying… until one fateful day in 1915 when his plane lost its wings while flying upside-down. He ended up landing in the San Francisco Bay and drowning. Children soon started […]
September 6th, 2011
Watch this video of Julia Child talking about some very old cookbooks and recipes that can be found at the Library of Congress. She mentions Thomas Jefferson’s favorite recipe for vanilla ice cream (made with 2 bottles of cream, 5 egg yolks and 1/2 pound of sugar). Then she talks a little about a singing […]
July 25th, 2011
Have you ever heard of Safety Songs? If you grew up in New York in the 1940’s, like our correspondent Richard Stark, I bet you have. In the New York City school system, teachers would teach them to kids. Richard remembers growing up singing them. The Safety Songs that Richard grew up with were written […]
July 8th, 2011
American children’s folk singer Ella Jenkins released a new cd earlier this year. It’s called A Life of Song. Ella’s music is a lovely way to introduce kids to American folk songs and spirituals. She actually sings some of the songs with children on this cd. The cd starts out with Pick a Bale of […]
February 6th, 2011
I get a lot of inspiration for cooking from Mark Bittman. He’s created recipes for the NY Times for years. Bittman encourages creative cooking with a minimal list of ingredients. He puts in dollops and dashes and doesn’t agonize about every painstakingly measured item. Because he doesn’t seem to measure! That’s how our grandmas cooked. […]
July 22nd, 2010
Confucius Lives Next Door is an interesting account of life in Japan by T.R. Reid. Much of the book is spent explaining the role of Confucianism on Asian society. Confucius said: Isn’t it a pleasure when you can make practical use of the things you have studied? Isn’t it a pleasure to have an old […]
February 25th, 2010
Dedy Dowo sent me these lovely photos of children in Indonesia! Many thanks to Dedy Dowo and all the children and their families for sharing these photos!
December 2nd, 2009
In the 1930’s, the US government did a series of interviews with former slaves. Project Gutenberg, just posted some of the interviews from Texas from 1936-1938. They’re called Slave Narratives. Wes Brady I pulled out some excerpts that revolved around songs that some of the former slaves remembered singing. Some were kids songs, some […]
November 29th, 2009
Here you’ll find some quotes about music… Music is the universal language of mankind. -Longfellow ***** Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. -Berthold Auerbach ***** Music is very much the same as air and water. It’s very much a natural element of the earth, you know when you hear birds, […]
September 10th, 2009
After all the brouhaha about whether or not Obama should speak to American students… he did.. and it’s not political at all. It’s a pep talk to kids to do their best in school. Many students look up to him, so I see this as being a positive! You can watch it here if you’d […]
July 8th, 2009
Imagine eccentric Dali, in his black cape, working with Walt Disney! The two did come together briefly on a short film project in 1946, called Destino. For unknown reasons, it wasn’t completed at the time. The artwork Dali originally composed for the movie was purchased by Disney a few years ago. In 2001, work began […]
July 5th, 2009
Walt Disney World has added a robotic Barack Obama to its Hall of Presidents. Here you can hear CNN’s Rob Marciano report about it…
February 20th, 2009
This week I started reading Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sandburg. It’s very well written. In the early pages of this book, you realize that Abe was a kid just like any other kid. For example, he wrote this at about eleven (can’t you imagine your kid writing this?): Abraham Lincoln is my nam[e] And with […]
February 16th, 2009
This is very funny – Jake Johannsen is a great comedian. His commentary on Starbucks’ lingo for coffee sizes makes me finally understand why I’m so perplexed each time I try to order a coffee there… -Mama Lisa
February 7th, 2009
Gerardo wrote to me sharing the sad news about Jorge Guerra… Dear Lisa, The Pin Pon song was created in 1965 by Jorge Guerra a Chilean actor that also created the character of a boy doll. Jorge Guerra died yesterday February 6 at the age of 66 years. He was recognized for his contribution to […]
December 11th, 2008
I love reading about day-to-day life in the olden days! It’s fascinating how it was so different from the modern world. Project Gutenberg just posted a book to read online or download called Domestic Life in Virginia in the 17th Century. Presumably, it would be similar throughout the North American colonies at that point in […]
December 9th, 2008
WWD Fashion asked designers to send in sketches for clothing designs for Michelle Obama and her daughters to wear on Inauguration Day on January 20th – when Obama officially becomes President. Check out the results at WWD.com. The sketch above was done by Isaac Mizrahi for Michelle, Sasha and Malia. My daughter and I enjoyed […]
November 25th, 2008
I mentioned in my last blog post how we belong to a CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture). We get less expensive organic vegetables that come from a farm that day. We get whatever vegetables come in each week – there’s a little choice sometimes – but to a large extent – we get whatever’s in season […]
November 20th, 2008
Here are some photos from the National Archives Ansel Adams collection (one near Death Valley, the other of the Grand Canyon)… The Library of Congress has a Catalog of Online Prints & Photographs. (Many of those photos are in the public domain.) They’ve teamed up with Flickr to post some of their popular photos. Below […]
February 12th, 2008
I have a correction to make – and investigating my error has led me to an interesting discovery. Way back in 2005, I was asked about the saying, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” At the time I attributed it to Benjamin Franklin. The saying was in […]
March 28th, 2006
It’s traditional in many countries in the west to play tricks on people on April 1st. The earliest evidence of this is from France. There, the tradition is called Poisson d’avril or April Fish, since, on that day, the French will often tape a cardboard fish onto someone’s backside or send them on a fool’s […]
March 9th, 2006
The Ides of March is on March 15th every year. The expression Beware the Ides of March can mean beware of impending danger. If someone says Beware the Ides of March referring to March 15th itself, it can have the sense of March 15th being a bad luck day, just like Friday the 13th. The […]
January 24th, 2006
Thomas Edison made the first recording of the human voice in 1877. He recited the nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb. He re-recorded it in 1927 for posterity. Mary Had a Little Lamb Mary had a little lamb, Its fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went, The lamb was sure to […]
January 16th, 2006
Ben Franklin (1706 – 1790) is an amazingly interesting character! He made tremendous contributions to the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. He also invented the lightening rod, bifocals and the wood stove. One of his favorite pastimes was Chess. Here’s what he had to say about it… The Morals of Chess The game […]
January 11th, 2006
In my previous entry, I wrote a little about the life of Martin Luther King Jr. He was an inspirational writer and orator, and I wanted to post some of his words for you to read… Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I […]
January 10th, 2006
About Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968)… Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He became a Baptist Minister when he was 17. Later he received a Ph.D. from Boston University. While he was studying for a Ph.D. he became interested in the teachings of Gandhi. He particularly […]
Please contribute a traditional song or rhyme from your country.
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With Lullabies From Around The World
A Mama Lisa Book! Over 50 lullabies and recordings from all over the world. Each Lullaby includes the full text in the original language, with an English translation. Order Here!
With Our New Book 'Kid Songs Around The World'
Whoever the children are in your life - your kids, your grandkids, your students, even yourself (in your heart) - 'Kid Songs Around The World' is a wonderful way to help them experience other languages and cultures.
In 'Kid Songs Around The World' we've gathered 100 of our favorite songs and rhymes from all the continents of the globe.
Each song includes the full text in the original language, with an English translation, and most include sheet music. All include links to web pages where you can listen to recordings, hear the tune or watch a video performance. Each includes a beautiful illustration.
Many have commentary sent to us by our correspondents who write about the history of the songs and what they meant in their lives.
We hope this book will help foster a love of international children's songs!