July 19th, 2016
Bruce Ham wrote to us recently looking for help with the lyrics to a Dutch children’s song that his grandmother used to sing to the kids in the family. He sent us a recording of his grandmother singing the song. In the recording you can also hear his grandma talk about how she used to […]
June 7th, 2016
Ayako Egawa wrote to us about her visit to the Ginkaku-ji Temple… "I went to Kyoto and visited the Ginkaku-ji Temple. Ginkaku-ji Temple translates as the "Temple of the Silver Pavilion”. It’s a world cultural heritage site here in Japan. The Japanese Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa commissioned the temple as a retirement home. He was a […]
February 23rd, 2016
NASA has designed space posters to inspire people to want to explore space. Here are some of my favorites… NASA’s text about this poster: "NASA’s Mars Exploration Program seeks to understand whether Mars was, is, or can be a habitable world. Mission like Mars Pathfinder, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Science Laboratory and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, […]
March 28th, 2014
I recently posted a song about Mt. Fuji and a haiku poem about a snail climbing Mt. Fuji. While I was working on them, I came across mention of there being a tradition in Japan of people wanting to climb Mt. Fuji during their lifetime. I asked Sadao Mazuka who’s from Japan about this tradition. […]
October 23rd, 2013
Monique Palomares wrote about a recent trip she took to Berlin, Germany. While there she visited the outdoors East Side Gallery created on parts of the old Berlin Wall. Here’s what she wrote: "The East Side Gallery is an open air gallery which was painted in 1990 on the East side of a section of […]
October 15th, 2013
James Knight wrote about how his dad, William James Knight, would go to Little Italy when he was younger and bring back some culinary treats: My dad made a weekly jaunt to Little Italy to buy bread and other provisions. My mom would wrap the bread and freeze it, and he would pull one loaf […]
September 16th, 2013
By Monique Palomares I went to Berlin for the first time this Summer and discovered special crossing signs for pedestrians at traffic lights. These crossing lights are originally from former East Germany. There are male and female versions of these lights. The male ones are called "Ampelmännchen" (single ones are called "Ampelmann"). The green ones […]
August 6th, 2013
This summer we brought our kids to see "The Art of the Brick" at Discovery Times Square in New York City. It features Nathan Sawaya’s Lego artwork. Here’s my 12 year old daughter’s assessment of the show… Nathan Sawaya’s Lego sculptures are truly works of art. They are well built and neatly sculpted brick by […]
June 1st, 2013
Here’s a short color film of New York city taken in 1939. What’s interesting is how much it looks like today, though the city wasn’t as "tall". Everyone was also more dressed up. A lot of people wore hats in those days. Enjoy! Mama Lisa Hattip: Kotke Photo: Wikipedia
April 11th, 2013
My family and I took a trip to Washington DC last weekend. It’s the first time we’d been there in many years and there have been a lot of changes. Several new major monuments have opened. One of the most impressive is the FDR Monument. It’s a particularly great destination if anyone in your party […]
April 1st, 2013
"La nuit porte conseil" is French for "sleep on it". It means, think about it overnight and don’t make a decision until tomorrow… often good advice! The photo is this saying on the door of a Broom closet in Herald Square (New York). –Mama Lisa
March 26th, 2013
Debbie wrote from Japan about cherry blossoms, which are called sakura in Japanese. Spring is a favorite time to view the sakura and have picnics. Here’s what Debbie wrote: Everything comes in sakura colors right now. Doughnuts. Noodles. Even the exercise ladies in my morning exercise show were wearing sakura-colored t-shirts. Never mind that the […]
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?"
December 22nd, 2012
It’s a tradition in the US and the UK to tip people at the end of the year who perform services. Some of the people who are tipped are: Mail Couriers, Sanitation Workers, Hairdressers, Milkmen, House Cleaners, Nanny’s, Music Instructors, Dog Groomers, Teachers, etc. Many people wonder if they’re tipping the right amount. This seems […]
September 8th, 2012
MoMA Unadulterated is an unofficial audio tour created by kids about modern art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. "Each piece of art is analyzed by experts aged 3-10, as they share their unique, unfiltered perspective on such things as composition, the art’s deeper meaning, and why some stuff’s so weird looking." […]
March 20th, 2012
Jeremy Shatan wrote from New York: "It’s the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. Around this time of the year, my mom would always say: ‘Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, the boid is on the wing.’ Yes, just like that." This saying is all in "New Yorkese", a New York accent. It […]
September 1st, 2011
MP3 of Broadway Broadway by Sarah Teasdale THIS is the quiet hour; the theaters Have gathered in their crowds, and steadily The million lights blaze on for few to see, Robbing the sky of stars that should be hers. A woman waits with bag and shabby furs, A somber […]
August 30th, 2011
Ha Long Bay in Vietnam is home to about 1600 people who live in floating houses. Most of them make their living through fishing. Here’s a photo of Fruit vendors in the floating village on Ha long Bay. Thanks to Purabi Khisa Tandra for sharing these photos! Mama Lisa
June 9th, 2011
This fantastic photo was taken in Jamaa el Fna Square in Morocco by Monique Palomares on a visit to the city of Marrakech last year. The square looks like a market, but it’s actually filled with outdoor restaurants. The tall tower in the background, with the light on top, is the Koutoubia Mosque. The name […]
April 6th, 2011
Adult humpback whales are 39 – 52 feet long and weigh approximately 79,000 pounds! If you visit Hawaii during breeding season, you can help count them in an effort to maintain their future health and safety. Stephanie Spengler Batzer wrote to me about how she’s involved in counting humpback whales in Hawaii. Here’s what she […]
January 21st, 2011
This is the Year of the Rabbit according to the Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac is followed in China, as well as Japan. Ayako wrote to me from Japan about the Year of the Rabbit… We have twelve different signs (animals) in Chinese lunar calender called “干支”. We call the men of the year “toshi […]
January 4th, 2011
In Japan, people traditionally make displays in their houses for special holidays. The displays often include flowers, branches of trees and symbolic food. My friend Ayako Egawa in Japan sent the photo below of a floral arrangement she made for the New Year. She wrote, "The berries are ‘senryo’, lucky plants for the New Year […]
December 29th, 2010
Here’s a video of Julia Child showing how to make a French Tarte Tatin (upside down apple tarte). We posted a recipe for tarte tatin in the past. It’s interesting to see Julia’s version. Watch the full episode. See more Julia Child. Julia served her Tarte Tatin with creme fraiche in the video. Creme […]
November 2nd, 2010
French Self-Taught, by Franz J. L. Thimm (1905) was just posted on Librivox with mp3 recordings. (You can listen to it streaming on Internet Archive if you prefer a player.) You can also read the book online while playing the recordings in the background. The recordings are broken down by chapter on subjects ranging from […]
June 16th, 2010
The main entrance to a shrine in Japan. “The kanji on the stone on the left side says ‘Hirohata Hachiman Jinja’.” -Shintaro Yesterday, we posted some photos of Japan from Shintaro Tominaga, including the one above. It shows the entrance to a shrine. The kanji text on the stone near the entrance says, “Hirohata Hachiman […]
June 15th, 2010
Here are some photos from Japan with descriptions from Shintaro Tominaga . The rice paddy near the river. One month later. “A heron in the river called ‘Ohtsu-gawa’ is trying to hunt a small fish in the water.” Bamboo “The main entrance to the shrine. The kanji on the stone on the left side […]
April 13th, 2010
Here’s an alternate version of the traditional song Daisy, Daisy, sent to me by Bretta Gerhard… Daisy, Daisy Daisy, Daisy, Give me your answer due. I’m half crazy, All for the love of you. It won’t be a stylish marriage. I can’t afford a carriage. But you’ll look sweet, Upon the seat, Of a bicycle […]
April 12th, 2010
Check out this 6 minute video to remind you of some simple French expressions, to practice your accent, or to learn some simple phrases if you’re planning a visit to France or French Canada…
April 11th, 2010
Here’s a poem about blocks by Robert Louis Stevenson accompanied by a drawing by Gracie and an mp3 recording… Block City by Robert Louis Stevenson What are you able to build with your blocks? Castles and palaces, temples and docks. Rain may keep raining, and others go roam, But I can be happy and building […]
March 28th, 2010
Here are some photos of Washington DC thanks to Ray Lee. It’s Cherry Blossom Season, so it’s a great time to visit D.C. The Washington Monument. The Jefferson Monument. Cherry Blossoms. Many thanks to Ray Lee for sharing these photos with us! Check out the Official National Cherry Blossom Festival site for info about special […]
March 5th, 2010
Jesse Catano wrote: Hello, Was wondering if you could help me, was wondering if any chance you knew of a song, it was one my dad use to sing to me when i was little. My dad is from united states, but perhaps he learned it from his father who was raised in Mexico. I […]
October 17th, 2009
I’ve been asked several times for the Pennsylvania Dutch Version of the German rhyme Dies Ist der Daumen – This Is the Thumb. Today I received the version below thanks to Luke and Mary Martin. Here’s what Luke wrote… My wife and I are also familiar with many of the German songs. This morning while […]
April 7th, 2009
When the Cherry Blossoms bloom in Japan it’s traditional to go to the park to view the blossoms and have a picnic. Cherry Blossom viewing is called called Hanami. Ayako Egawa generously shared her photos of this years cherry blossom viewing. Ayako wrote, "We walked under the flow of cherry blossoms in the park. It […]
March 27th, 2009
It’s amazing that people over 5000 years ago knew enough about astronomy and the seasons to create a cave and have specific chambers within it be lit up by the sun only on specific days of the year… specifically on the solstices and equinoxes. I’m talking about the Loughcrew Megalithic Cairns in Ireland. Michael […]
March 13th, 2009
New Wonton Garden in New York’s Chinatown is a delicious, inexpensive restaurant. It’s not fancy by any means. But it serves yummy dim sum and wonton soup (oddles of varieties). A great place to go if you’re looking for taste without spending a fortune. We fed four for less than $40 including the tip. (Though […]
March 2nd, 2009
Kamakura is 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of Tokyo. Ayako Egawa wrote to me from Japan about her trip there, “I went to Kamakura where there are many famous historic Japanese sites. This is “Daibutsu” which means Great Buddha. It was cast in 1252 and its height is approximately 13.4 meters (44 feet). ‘The figure […]
February 25th, 2009
Check out the Toulouse Blog about life in New Orleans. Here’s an excerpt of what he had to say approaching the Mardi Gras… When one is called to Carnival, the first question will always be: what do I wear? …You must simply find or make a mask, one that calls you to wear it, that […]
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 1st, 2008
The Phillies won the American baseball World Series on Wednesday. Yesterday they had a parade in Philadelphia to celebrate it. My friend Ray Lee sent me this photo below. He took it from his office building when the parade was passing by. I love the photo and wanted to post it here. After the original […]
September 18th, 2008
Guest Blogger, Ed Gawlinski, has been involved in many cultural organizations throughout his life. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, near Bay Ridge, which was then a Norwegian neighborhood. The Norwegian neighborhood is now a great place for Middle Eastern cuisine. There are many fine restaurants in this area. Many of the shops include […]
September 15th, 2008
Guest Blogger, Ed Gawlinski, has been involved in many cultural organizations throughout his life. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York. You can tell his heart still belongs there by something he wrote to me the other day, “It is a small world, and in some ways it revolves around Brooklyn!” Here’s what Ed wrote […]
July 8th, 2008
This guy Matt has literally danced his way around the world, to a Bengali song. Check it out. It’s great!
July 5th, 2008
Guest blogger Monique Palomares works with me on Mama Lisa’s World en français and Mamá Lisa’s World en español. Monique was also a 1st grade teacher for many years. Now she helps other classes on special projects and accompanies them on trips from time to time. Background: Some classes in France take their students on […]
July 2nd, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, Ray Lee sent me photos from his trip to Hong Kong. Here are some more, from when he visited the The Monastery of Ten Thousand Buddhas. You have to walk up over 400 steps to get there. On the way up you pass by many Buddha statues, each one is […]
June 20th, 2008
I recently posted a photo of a typical Hong Kong street. Below are some more photos that my friend Ray Lee took on a recent trip to Hong Kong. You might like to see them to get a feel for what Hong Kong looks like if you’ve never been there before. Here’s a photo of […]
June 14th, 2008
My friend Ray, who spent most of his early childhood in Hong Kong, sent me this photo from his recent trip there. He said, “This is a pretty typical side street in Hong Kong, with a lot of small stores and signs.”… Many thanks to Ray Lee for sharing this photo with us! If you […]
April 4th, 2008
In my last post I mentioned that sticker books are a good way for kids to pass time on a plane. They’re also good for doctor appointments and any other situation where kids have to wait. My daughter particularly loves the series of sticker books put out by Barnes and Noble. Each book is on […]
We brought our kids along during our recent trip to Europe. It was great having them with us and they really enjoyed it. But traveling with children is not always easy. Here’s some tips, based on our experience: 1) Bring snacks like granola bars (you probably want to avoid high sugar snacks that would hype […]
April 3rd, 2008
My husband and I just got back from a trip to Europe with our two kids. We flew with American Airlines. I haven’t flown for awhile, so I was surprised to find that almost the whole ticketing process was done electronically or by phone. When we ordered them (by phone) we were told we wouldn’t […]
April 2nd, 2008
I’ve always found taking off and landing in a plane to be uncomfortable for my ears. Sometimes to the point where it was very painful. Before our trip to Europe, I mentioned this problem to my sister. She told me about something called EarPlanes that was made for just this problem. Here’s one useful description […]
Please contribute a traditional song or rhyme from your country.
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Over 125 songs and rhymes. Each includes the full text in Spanish, with translations into English. Many include links to recordings. Order Here!