Children are Our Future - Part II

The Secret Sauce

“Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded.”

One of the most delightful things I discovered while writing The Not Perfect Hat Club was the way music could bring a story alive for kids. Words that were just little black dots on a page would suddenly leaped to life when I included rhythm, rhyme, and repetition. When I added the last piece - a catchy tune that was easy to sing - I knew I’d stumbled on what I call the “secret sauce.”

Once I got a taste of how music enhances kids’ learning and gets their bodies moving as well, I was hooked. I added the “Wag, Wag, Wag,” song to the tune of “Hokey Pokey” to my Lead with Your Heart readings (3rd book), and asked students in my international program to make rap songs using poems they wrote. FUN!

This brings me to this week’s big news - my latest book, Doxie the Doggone Dirty Digger is DONE (big round of applause please). The book tells the tale of a Dachshund who can’t stop digging. At their wit’s end, his people send him to summer camp where he is befriended by kids who keep him so busy he doesn’t have time to dig. He also meets singing earthworms (see image above) and learns that singing about vegetables is a great way to get kids to eat them. I have incorporated music in ways I hope will get both kids and adults thinking about their relationship to nature. If you’d like to be kept abreast of publication dates, lives readings, and online programs related to the book, sign up here:
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Since I don’t have the music for the new book ready to share with you yet, I thought I’d offer the delightful songs of Tom Chapin (brother of Harry Chapin). Chapin has made a second career out of writing songs for kids between the ages of 8 and 12 (the CritterKin sweet spot). In the video below, he explains how he got started and the role that storytelling plays in his work. He’s my kind of musician!

The songs below are ones that I thoroughly enjoyed. Do you recognize any of them? Are there songs you remember and cherish from your childhood?

  1. Family Tree

  2. Big Rock Candy Mountain

  3. Cousins

  4. Sing a Whale Song

  5. Library Song

    P.S. Do you think there’s any chance Chapin might write the melodies for my book?

Copyright 2021 by Jena Ball. All Rights Reserved.