February 12th, 2018
Helen Hyde (1868 – 1919) was an American painter, etcher and printmaker. Her work often depicted women and children in various countries around the world. She was a very modern woman who traveled extensively and even lived in Japan for 15 years – something that was very challenging for women to accomplish alone at that […]
August 7th, 2017
This article was written by Monique Palomares who works with us on the French version of Mama Lisa’s World. We recently posted a Breton song about dwarves from the region in France known as Brittany. The song is called Ar C’horred (The Dwarfs). There’s a verse in the song that’s supposed to be a song […]
December 5th, 2016
The perfect gift for the person in your life who loves children, music and world culture! Our new book, "Kid Songs Around The World" contains 100 of our favorite children’s songs from around the globe. Each song includes the full text in the original language, with an English translation, and most include sheet music. All […]
October 19th, 2016
Here’s an interesting little video about how the names and places in the Harry Potter books were translated… including names like Hogwarts, Tom Riddle, Diagon Alley, etc. What a nightmare to translate! lol Enjoy! Mama Lisa
August 19th, 2016
We recently released our Kids Songs around the World downloadable book! It includes 100 songs from across the globe in their original languages and with English translations. I made a Spotify Mama Lisa’s Book of Kids Songs around the World Playlist to accompany the book. It includes 73 of the songs that are in the […]
August 12th, 2016
We’re proud to announce the launch of our Kids Songs around the World downloadable book! It includes 100 songs from across the globe in their original languages and with English translations. Many include sheet music, illustrations and links to where you can hear the songs or watch a YouTube. Check out our new Mama Lisa […]
June 20th, 2016
The Pig and The Sheep is a little Aesop’s fable. You can listen to it below and read along with the text… MP3 Recording of The Pig and The Sheep The Pig and The Sheep A Pig found his way into a meadow where a flock of Sheep were grazing. The shepherd caught him, and […]
June 19th, 2016
Here’s a short, little Aesop’s Fable called The Moon and Her Mother with an mp3 recording… MP3 Recording of The Moon and Her Mother The Moon and Her Mother The Moon once begged her Mother to make her a gown. "How can I?" replied she; "there’s no fitting your figure. At one time you’re a […]
March 23rd, 2016
In the town of Bessières, all of the chefs come out on Easter Monday to make a gigantic omelet with 15,000 eggs! They’ve been making huge omelets every year since 1972. People call it the "Omelette of Gargantua". Gargantua is a giant from a novel by François Rabelais in the 16th century. The event is […]
January 20th, 2016
In Haiti, if someone is going to tell a story, they’ll say "Krik?" If the people listening want to hear the story, they’ll respond, "Krak!" It’s a way for a storyteller to get the audience ready, similar to, "Come gather round…" in English, but it makes the audience more active. Riddles are introduced with, "Tim […]
Sadao Mazuka recently wrote to us about the “John Doe” name “Gonbei” in Japan, used for someone whose name you don’t know. He wrote about other phrases in Japanese that are used in other circumstances in ways similar to “John Doe” below… “Urashima Taroh” is a name just like Rip van Winkle；浦島太郎 “Urashima Taroh” comes […]
December 14th, 2015
Gingerbread Cookies are an important part of the holiday season in Germany. They’re sold in Christmas Markets that are found all over Germany at this time of year. The creation of the Gingerbread Man is credited to the court of Queen Elizabeth I. The story is that she had gingerbread man cookies made to resemble […]
November 22nd, 2015
There are many proverbs around the world about eating well. There are other proverbs about making sure you eat when you have the chance. For example, I grew up with the saying, "Eat your food! People are starving in China." Monique sent some French and Spanish proverbs about eating when you can. She wrote… "About […]
November 20th, 2015
There’s an interesting book that features food wisdom and proverbs from around the world called "Food Rules" by Michael Pollan. The book is about learning to think about eating in a more healthy way. The sayings are interesting. I’ve tried to find some of the non-English sayings in their original languages – sometimes I found […]
August 24th, 2015
Here’s a beautiful little movie that’s narrated by a 6 six year old, giving great advice about life and how to deal with fears… the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.
July 16th, 2015
It’s always fun to read fables. They make you think of an earlier, simpler time. We think of fables as being for young children. However, a French teacher I recently spoke with told me that in France today, Jean de La Fontaine’s fables are mostly read by high school students. That’s because the language is […]
June 3rd, 2015
Knock-knock jokes can be found all over the world. They have a simple formula. In English, they start with, "Knock, knock!" As if someone’s knocking on the door. The answer is almost always, "Who’s there?" Then the joke proceeds with a play on words. Here’s a good example: Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? […]
May 28th, 2015
Mamá te quiero mucho (Mommy, I Love You So Much) is a nice little new dual-language (Spanish/English) book that was just released! It accompanies a wonderful song that singer/songwriter Sara Quintanar has shared with us in the past (here). The book also includes a score to the song. Here’s a page from the book that […]
April 13th, 2015
Lonnie wrote asking for help finding a story that his mother-in-law used to tell about the origin of black-eyed peas. Here’s his question: I am trying to find a story my mother in law used to tell my daughter. All I can remember about it is the little pea tore something and it was sewn […]
April 8th, 2015
Mrs. Mulligatawny is a poem by Arthur Macy about the value of thinking for yourself. Macy’s style reminds me of the writing of the American children’s author, Dr. Seuss. Both have fun making fun of human foibles! You can listen to a wonderful recording of the poem below and read along with the text. MP3 […]
January 7th, 2015
Kids love jokes! That’s why you should check out Buzzfeed’s 19 Clean Jokes To Tell Your Kids…That Are Actually Funny. My favorite: Guy in a library walks up to the librarian and says, ‘I’ll have a cheeseburger and fries, please.’ Librarian responds, ‘Sir, you know you’re in a library, right?’ Guy says, ‘Oh, sorry. [in […]
January 6th, 2015
The "Hunting Song of the Seeonee Pack" is a poem from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Here’s a wonderful singing rendition of it by Ezwa… MP3 Recording of Hunting Song of the Seeonee Pack Hunting-Song of the Seeonee Pack As the dawn was breaking the Sambhur* belled Once, twice and again! And a doe […]
December 17th, 2014
Rest in Peace Norman Bridwell, creator of the kids books featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog. I’ll always remember reading stacks of Clifford books with my son Calvin when he was young. They helped him learn how to read! Bridwell has left an enduring legacy with his books that children and parents will read for […]
October 22nd, 2014
I’m so excited! I just discovered a major collection of online recordings of children’s singing games! Iona and Peter Opie are among the world’s top collectors of English nursery rhymes and kids songs. When working on Mama Lisa’s World, I refer to their research quite a bit. They published one of the most comprehensive collections […]
June 12th, 2014
Eric Hill, author of the Spot the Dog children’s books, passed away this week at 86. Hill created Spot for his young son in 1976. In 1980, he created the first lift-the-flap book to ever exist called "Where’s Spot?". He came up with the "lift-the-flap" design after he had seen it on advertising flyers. What […]
January 23rd, 2014
Here’s a very little French tale called "Gâteau" by Jules Lemaître. The story is about two kids trying to share cake. It’s in French with an English translation and a French recording. MP3 of Gâteau On avait donné à deux enfants un gros gâteau et un petit, en leur disant: "Partagez !" Les deux enfants […]
January 22nd, 2014
Some English terms go back further than you’d think… -OMG The first recorded appearance of this breathless acronym for “Oh, my God!” comes, surprisingly, in a letter to Winston Churchill. (1917) -LITERALLY Word curmudgeons wince when “literally” is used figuratively. Examples of this inversion go back to 1769. Even Mark Twain did it. (1876) -UNFRIEND […]
January 18th, 2014
Once a few years ago I had a conversation with a friend from China about cooking in the U.S. She found it amusing that most Americans cook with recipes… recipes that tell you exactly how to cook with precise measurements of ingredients. She said that in China recipes were handed down within the family and […]
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 […]
July 23rd, 2013
Butterbeer is a non-alcoholic beverage people drink in the Harry Potter books and movies. If you go to Universal Amusement Park in Florida, where they have several Harry Potter rides, you can drink Butterbeer. Boy is it yummy! Of course Universal doesn’t give out the recipe. However, people have made many attempts to recreate the […]
July 10th, 2013
Michelle Obama hosted a Kids’ State Dinner at the White House this week. The 54 kids invited were the winners of Epicurious’ Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. The kids all created yummy recipes that were half vegetable or fruit, and affordable. You can download the 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook online for free.
April 17th, 2013
Monique was here visiting from France for the past two weeks and we worked on creating Spanish and French versions of our books and apps. (They should be available soon.) Here’s a link to our current books and apps.
January 27th, 2013
Here’s a fun little skunk joke with a recording… MP3 of Two Little Skunks Two Little Skunks There were two little skunks Named "In" and "Out." One day In was out And Out was in. The mother skunk asked Out to go out and bring In in. So Out went out and Brought In in. […]
January 20th, 2013
A Johnny-cake is a small flat cake (akin to a little pancake) made out of cornmeal, water and salt. They were widely eaten in the U.S. in the 19th century. Johnny-cakes are called hoecakes in the South. The folk tale "Johnny-cake" is almost the same story as "The Gingerbread Man" except that a Johnny-cake is […]
January 10th, 2013
How the Finch Got Her Colors is a Flemish legend. Below you can listen to it in English and read along with the tale… MP3 of How The Finch Got Her Colors How The Finch Got Her Colors A Flemish Legend There was once a time when all the birds were gray and had no […]
December 30th, 2012
Towards the end of WWI two cousins, young girls, took photos with fairies they said they had met. Later they admitted they faked the photos. Yet many people at the time believed they were real, including the author of the Sherlock Holmes stores, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! The fairies came to be called the "Cottingley […]
December 21st, 2012
Gingerbread Houses are made at Christmastime in Germany, the US and other countries around the world. Gingerbread Houses are intricately linked to the Grimm fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. In the story, two children, Hansel and Gretel get lost in the woods. They come upon a house made of gingerbread covered in frosting and […]
October 18th, 2012
Here’s a fun illustration called "A Tour in the Toy Country" by British illustrator Randolph Caldecott (1846 – 1886). Caldecott illustrated many books for children.
October 2nd, 2012
Check out a list of 100 Best Chapter Books for Kids at Children’s Book Guide. I see many of my family’s favorites there, such as: The Phantom Tollbooth The Graveyard Book From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler The Hobbit Happy Reading! Mama Lisa
August 23rd, 2012
Dav Pilkey is the author of the Captain Underpants series… which gave both my son and daughter (and my husband) hours of pleasure. In the video below, you can see him drawing Captain Underpants while explaining how reading gives you superpowers!
August 9th, 2012
Here’s a short animation about a boy who delivers coffee to all the animals in the World of Fairy Tales. It’s narrated by the girl who delivers the sugar that goes with the coffee. (In Hungarian with English subtitles.) Really creative! I recommend watching it in full screen mode.
June 27th, 2012
You can now listen to 50 Grimm’s Fairy Tales in the original German on Librivox. Grimm’s Fairy Tales are a collection of German folk tales. These recordings include the original versions of such stories as The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel and Rapunzel. These tales were originally published under the title, “Kinder- und Hausmärchen” (Children’s […]
April 17th, 2012
Where the Bee Sucks is from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. In the play, it’s sung by the fairy spirit Ariel. You can read this lovely song below and listen along to two different renditions of it – one recited, the other sung. Where The Bee Sucks (Shakespeare) Where the bee sucks, there suck I: In […]
April 10th, 2012
Florence wrote asking for help finding a childhood story. Here’s her letter: Hello Lisa, My Grandpa was Swedish and when I was growing up he and my Dad would tell us a story about Uncle Bobby and his two monkeys; Jim & Jockle (sp?). They were naughty little monkeys. That’s about all I can recall. […]
March 15th, 2012
Here’s a song called "Brother Come and Dance with Me" from a Librivox rendition of Hansel and Gretel. You can replace "brother" with "children" (or a child’s name). This little song and dance can help children learn coordination and how to distinguish left from right. MP3 of Brother Come and Dance with Me Come and […]
March 14th, 2012
Here’s a pretty little song called Good Morning, Merry Sunshine from a Librivox rendition of Little Red Riding Hood… MP3 Recording of Good Morning, Merry Sunshine Good Morning, Merry Sunshine Good morning, merry sunshine, How did you come so soon? You chase the little stars away And shine away the moon. I saw you go […]
February 4th, 2012
My daughter’s 5th grade class had a Multicultural Feast this week. The feast was about both writing and exploring one’s cultural heritage. The students had to ask a relative for a recipe that’s been handed down within the family and then to interview that person about the history of the recipe. All of the recipes […]
January 31st, 2012
We’ve just released a new eBook for the Kindle – Italian Kids Songs and Rhymes. We’ve gathered over eighty Italian songs and rhymes, presented in their original language and with translations into English. Many have commentary sent to us by our correspondents around the world. It’s an ideal resource for teachers of the Italian language, […]
January 11th, 2012
I’m currently reading a series of books that takes place in Botswana called The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. When reading the first book, you quickly come upon the term "Mma" (pronounced "ma") used before a woman’s name and "Rra" (pronounced "ra" with a rolling "r") used before a man’s name. […]
December 7th, 2011
The Gift of the Magi is a short story written by O. Henry in the early 1900’s. The story is at heart of what the holiday season and gift giving should be about… a selfless act to make another person happy… it’s not about the money you spend that’s important… it’s the sentiment behind the […]
Please contribute a traditional song or rhyme from your country.
More about Books & Stories...
100+ Favorites (230+ Pages), Many with Sheet Music and Links to Recordings!
Frère Jacques is one of the most popular songs in the world. It exists in more countries and versions than any other we've found, and kids everywhere know the tune. That makes it ideal to introduce children to languages and international culture.
In Frère Jacques Around The World we've gathered over 100 of these versions, from many countries.
This book includes:
• Over 100 versions of Frère Jacques
• Full text of each in the original language
• English translations
• Many with sheet music
• Links to web pages with recordings and videos
• Commentary from our correspondents about what the songs and rhymes have meant to their lives
We've included versions from countries all over the world, including Mexico, Japan, Thailand and, of course, France.
You'll also find an article by Mama Lisa about Teaching Kids To Love Language with Frère Jacques.
THIS IS A DOWNLOADABLE EBOOK AVAILABLE INSTANTLY.