December 13, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Top 10 Music 2017

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This was another stellar year for children’s music that saw the release of an incredible mix of outstanding albums featuring a wide range of musical genres. While the diverse styles range from country to rock, and hip-hop to jazz, these selections do have one thing in common: their universal themes. These albums cover issues that children are facing every day: acceptance, empowerment, friendship, and love. Chosen by the reviewers from SLJ’s ClefNotes music column, these albums will appeal to children and adults and include a wide variety of songs that can be used in storytimes, library programs, or classrooms. All of these selections are must-haves for every collection.

Dana’s Best Jump & Jam Tunes. Performed by Dana Cohenour. Music Playground. PreS.
Cohenour’s more than 20 years of experience working with children is evident in every song on her newest, energy-filled album. Listeners will be up, moving, and engaged from beginning to end, making it perfect to use during storytime. This album will be in high demand by parents and preschool teachers alike.

I Believe in You. Performed by Dolly Parton. RCA. PreS-Gr 3.
Parton’s infectious joy and love for life shine throughout her first album for children. Taking inspiration from some of the books given through her Imagination Library, Parton crafts 13 beautiful songs that tackle bullying, friendship, kindness, and even childhood cancer with an upbeat, positive outlook.

Life on a Trampoline. Performed by Randy & Dave. Song Wizard Records. PreS-Gr 3.
Whether they are singing ditties about sharing or being afraid of the dark, or a quirky tune about a family working in a cannery, Randy Sharp and Dave Kinnoin are experts at creating the perfect story songs. Containing a mash-up of musical genres, multilayered lyrics, and sophisticated instrumentation, this album is a delight for listeners young and old, who will want to hear again and again.

Made in L.A. Performed by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. Rainy Day Dimes Music. PreS-Gr 3.
The people, places, and things that make Los Angeles “L.A.” are explored in this delightful collection. Children will easily relate to the songs (it’s peanut butter and jelly!) no matter where they live. Special guests include Andrew and Polly, Frances England, and Mista Cookie Jar.

Mundo Verde/Green World. Performed by Mister G. Coil Records. PreS-Gr 2.
From the first notes of the title track to the last dulcet tones of this musical journey, the overarching theme of protecting all the wonders of our Earth is explored. This bilingual collection uses a variety of Latin beats while talking about important issues, such as the water that our planet is made of, recycling, and the wide variety of animals that deserve our protection and concern.

Night & Day. Performed by Jojo & the Pinecones. Pinehurst Music. PreS Up.
This combination of original compositions and jazz standards is split into two halves. Part 1: Day features high energy songs that follow the diurnal arc, from waking up to having breakfast for dinner. Part 2: Night is a farewell to the day as listeners get ready for bed. Families will want to listen from sunrise to sunset.

Ralph’s World: Time Machine Guitar. Performed by Ralph Covert. Waterdog Records. PreS-Gr 4.
Using his Time Machine Guitar, Covert takes listeners on a raucous musical adventure. During the journey, children will get to see historical figures such as Ben Franklin, King Tut, and Beethoven in a different light. Musical nods are also given to Tito Puente and Josephine Baker.

Rise Shine #Woke. Performed by Alphabet Rockers. School Time Music. PreS-Gr 5.
This hip-hop album’s overarching goal is to teach children about social justice. Well-crafted tunes filled with complicated rhymes and beats convey the important messages of inclusion, love, diversity, and lifting one another up.

Rock-n-Roll Yearbook. Performed by The Bazillions. The Bazillions. K-Gr 3.
Hallmarks of the school year are highlighted in this collection of rock and roll for kids. Songs about the first day of school, new shoes, and acceptance and empowerment are included as well as the fun grammar lessons that are a trademark of this talented duo.

Swing Set. Performed by Jazzy Ash. Leaping Lizards Music.
Following years of research into traditional African American songs and rhymes, Ash settled on these 14 tunes. Each track on Swing Set is at least 90 years old and has been newly arranged for today’s children in this entertaining yet extremely important musical history lesson.

Swing Set

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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