Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
A place for poems, songs, rhymes and traditions from around the world for both kids and grown-ups to enjoy!

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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 […]
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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 […]
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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.
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All kids should watch this video below for inspiration… it’s a good answer the question, "Why should I do well in school?"
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"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
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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 […]
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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 […]
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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 […]
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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 […]
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 […]
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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 […]
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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 […]
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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. […]
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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 […]
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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!
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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 […]
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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, […]
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 […]
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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 […]
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…
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