11 Children's Music Albums for Libraries, Road Trips, and All-Around Fun

These selections celebrate dinosaurs, silliness, social justice, and more. Perfect for library programming, dancing, and exercise, these albums guarantee a rollicking good time. 


Best Day Ever. Performed by Stacy & Athena. Digital download. $7.92. 18 min. Stacy & Athena. 2022.
The whole crew can enjoy this little debut gem by the musical duo Stacy & Athena. Eight original tunes are performed with uplifting verve and care. Most are accompanied by an acoustic guitar, some with drums, which gives them a rock ‘n roll drive. A few include a group of kids singing along for inspiration. Several numbers will empower young listeners, including “Save Our World” (a catchy ditty with tips on what to do to help Earth), “I Believe in Me” (listing many self-positive attributes that most kids possess), and “Breathe” (an excellent self-soothing technique for when you are angry). The chorus of children shine in “Best Day Ever,” while the guitar and percussion take charge in the rocking “­Chocolate Chip Cookies.” The last three cuts are activity songs (“Kooky Crazy,” “Some Kids,” and “Happy Birthday to You”—a whole new song that is not the familiar tune or words!), which will get kids up, moving, and—quite possibly—singing along. VERDICT A cheery album with pep in its step and lively songs to sing and dance to.–Stephanie Bange

Dark Side of the Banana. Performed by Go Banana Go! Digital download. $9.49. 27 min. Santa Monica Recordings. 2022.
On their second family album, Go Banana Go! (Jim Roach and Brian Wecht) lean into the zany thoughts of their children, taking the funny or interesting things that the kids have said and turning them into songs. The album opens with the anti-lullaby “Going to Bed,” an upbeat celebration of bedtime, before cruising into a series of silly tunes that cover topics as wide-ranging as “Chocolate on My Pants,” “Ketchup for Breakfast,” and the final track, “Veggie Disco.” Along the way, listeners will enjoy an ode to the weird dad who’s number one mission is to embarrass the kids, an affirmation that the purpose of the petting zoo is getting to pet all but one of the animals, and “Banana,” a fantastic parody of Toto’s song “Rosanna.” Roach and Wecht use what they learned from their kids to craft lyrics that work on multiple levels and combine them with well-produced, entertaining instrumentation for this album that is appealing to children and adults alike. VERDICT The whole family will enjoy listening to this album again and again.–Veronica Schwartz De Fazio

Dinosaurs & Monsters. Performed by Howdytoons. Digital download. $6.99. 29 min. Howdytoons Productions. 2022.
This is the fourth album in Howdytoons’s “Dinostory” series. For this outing, they (Mike Whitla, Jimmy Reid, and Marco Minnemann) shine their light on dinosaurs such as the stegosaurus, diplodocus, and brontosaurus, and non-dinosaurs like the pterodactyl, dimetrodon, and kronosaurus, as well as the mythical kraken. While the subject isn’t new, the way that the highly factual information in these tracks is ­presented is. Except for a ­couple songs that have more of a Carnatic or reggae bent, most of the tunes in this collection are driven by arena rock and metal beats. ­Dinosaur fans will love all of the information while older listeners will ­enjoy the more grown-up sound of the ­music. VERDICT Not your regular kindie pop. ­Listeners better be ready to rock!–Veronica Schwartz De Fazio

Forgot My Oars. Performed by Tim Seston. CD. $13.98. Digital download. $9.49. 46 min. Tim Seston. 2022.
For his fifth album, Concord, MA, based Seston recorded 16 original songs that are sure to appeal to youngsters who love catchy music that speaks directly to them. Recorded in his living room during ­COVID-19, this production relies on only his guitar skills and joyful singing to draw in young listeners. Opening with the peppy “Animal Parade” (about a line of animals making their various noises as they pass), Seston follows with whistling the tune of, then singing, the bouncy “Butterfly on My Nose.” Many of the songs tell stories, such as “Charlie on the Farm,” “Do You Like to Be Scared?,” and the title song, “­Forgot My Oars” (this one gets high marks for creativity!). Others lend themselves to ­audience participation like “Good to Have You Here,” “Pretend You’re a Rocket,” and “Shake an Egg.” Some are just for the fun of it: “Find a Color” (a game), “Five Pancakes” (a countdown story-song), and “David and the ­Mosquito” (a buzzing good time). Toes will be tapping and hands clapping before this album is done. VERDICT Simple and basic, in this album Seston strums up a lot of fun and a story or two told in song.– Stephanie Bange

The Green Album. Performed by ­Gro-Town. Digital download. $9.49. 18 min. ­Danielle Carlomusto. 2022.
In the follow-up to her 2018 debut children’s album Motown is Gro-Town, Danielle Carlomusto continues her quest to celebrate the natural world around us. In this outing she lends her powerhouse vocals to a variety of musical genres, celebrating everything from 1970s rock and pop to doo-wop to country (and westerns). Along the way, she pays homage to many of the delights found in the garden, including snap peas, avocados, jalapeños, fava beans, and the Saskatoon berry. It isn’t just food that gets the special treatment. Carlomusto also shines the spotlight on the ladybug, a little brown dog, and a little black squirrel. Top-notch production value combined with engaging lyrics make this collection a winner. VERDICT With spring just around the corner, this truly entertaining album is a must-have.–Veronica Schwartz De Fazio


Imaginations. Performed by Paper ­Rainbows. Digital download. $5.94. 16 min. Streetlamp Records. 2022.
Following the birth of their daughter, husband and wife duo Nate and Kaelie Highfield partnered with collaborator Rob Chiarelli to create their first album of songs for children. Featuring Kaelie’s sweet, inviting voice, each song encourages children to use their imaginations and dream of adventures big and small. They are encouraged to embrace the wonders of the world not alone, but with family and friends. Lovely melodies filled with a whimsical quality shine a spotlight on instruments like the ukulele and triangle and lift up the lyrics while infusing them with a sense of security and love. VERDICT The perfect album to share with young children during the quieter times of the day.–Veronica Schwartz De Fazio

Kaboom! Performed by Todd‘n’Tina. Streaming. 17 min. Todd‘n’Tina. 2023.
This is the second album from ­Minnesota duo Todd‘n’Tina, also known as Todd ­Millinacker and Krissy Mondelli. Each of the 10 tracks in this collection is a super silly snippet of fun. Even though most of the tunes run in the 1:30 to 2:00–minute range, each still manages to tell a complete story, from the tale of a life-saving pig to the saga of a toy on the store shelf. Not only do Todd‘n’Tina cover a wide range of topics, they also employ a variety of musical genres. The album kicks off with the pop-delight “Tennis Racket Guitar,” before transitioning into the sea shanty “Pirates & Parrots,” the rock-tinged “Jellyfish Chicken,” and the punk-fueled “Box Life.” VERDICT The entire family will enjoy this imagination-filled collection.–­Veronica Schwartz De Fazio

Los fabulosos. Performed by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. Digital download. $4.95. 15 min. 8 Pound Gorilla ­Records. 2022.
The latest album from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band is an EP filled with four rocking and rolling original songs and a remix of the last one. This album has a full, rich sound and does not speak to kids; rather, it calls out to them: “Hey you! Jump in and join us!” Opening with a percussive vocal and noise/sound riff that is infectious, the high octane “Ridiculous” (a ditty that spells out and demonstrates what this word means), will make everyone instantly ­engage with it. The energy is supercharged when channeling Italian composer Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western vibe, with hands clapping, a lonely, whistled tune, and an acoustic guitar strummed in “Elephant.” Fast forward to “Elevator,” where the d­rummer gets a major workout, accompanied by kazoos, whistles, and a mouth harp, and Lucky joyfully croons about riding up and down on the elevator with background singers adding to the overall effect. The closer song is two versions of the same number, “Me Gusta,” a largely instrumental piece that expresses how “you make me happy.” It is bursting with merriment and joy that will have all ages tapping toes, dancing in seats, and bobbing heads—with every ­measure of music. The difference between the two songs? The first features a harmonica ­playing lead solo with the bilingual text; the second (a remix) features Robert Eiback on trumpet. VERDICT The Lucky Band is like the Energizer Bunny—they keep going and going, always creatively reinventing themselves. Rock on!– Stephanie Bange

Make It Myself. Performed by Ants on a Log. Digital download. $10. 38 min. Ant Hill. 2023.
Philadelphia-based Ants on a Log (Julie Be and Anya Rose) return with their third full-length family album. Exhibiting their talent for combining social justice with silliness, the duo crafted a collection of 14 songs that encourages children to think creatively about challenges they may face. Those challenges range from simple things, like finding ways to stay entertained while waiting in line and deciding what materials to use for crafts, to more complex challenges, like enjoying the trip as well as the destination and finding the courage to stand up against injustices. On the sillier side, also included is a lullaby to a mosquito and a twist on King Midas, where rather than turning things to gold, he instead turns them to cheese. On the more serious side, there’s a one-of-a-kind ode to the work of the EPA and “They’re My Friend,” a wonderful introduction to nonbinary pronouns. One of the most striking tracks is “What Book?” Sung from a girl’s perspective, it implores adults to see more than just pretty ­appearances and instead acknowledge that she has thoughts and opinions and sometimes it’s as simple as asking—what book are you reading? ­VERDICT Upbeat melodies filled with gorgeous harmonies elevate the lyrics, making this a must-have album.–Veronica Schwartz De Fazio

Sing & Soar. Performed by Nanny Nikki. Digital download. $5.94. 17 min. Nanny Nikki. 2022.
On her debut EP, Chicago-based “Nanny” Nikki Rung plucks and sings six original songs with just the right mix of fun and inspired nostalgia. Opening with Steve ­Carpenter tapping on a bucket drum, Rung’s production celebrates the street art form, which was nearly outlawed in her city, in the bouncy tune appropriately titled “The Beat.” “Yuck Your Yum” talks about the opposites that can be compatible between great friends, always choosing joy while harmonizing, whistling, and clapping away. Next up is not-your-average ABC song (“ABCzzz”) that features SaulPaul rapping, hands clapping, and out-of-this-world tapping. A remix of her song “Playground Day” (originally included on the 2021 Grammy-nominated album All One Tribe by the 1 Tribe Collective) features Christopher E. Singleton, Sr. “Almost Made It” and “I Can’t Hear the Moon” round out the rest of the tunes that Rung either wrote or cowrote for this recording. VERDICT Fun and full of life, Nikki sings and plays her ukulele just right, capturing the happy and joy-filled wonder of childhood.–Stephanie Bange

Traveling Together. Performed by Brighter Light Brigade. Digital download. $8.99. 20 min. Pound Gorilla Records. 2022.
Founded in 2020 by Amyliza de Jesus, the Brighter Light Brigade collective features a rotating group of artists who create music that connects, heals, and inspires. Intended as a bookend to the collective’s debut EP, Feel It All, this EP finds de Jesus joined by Marla Vannucci and Dean Jones on a collection of songs meant to be conversation starters for families and classrooms. The EP starts with easy topics like your favorite song and a story about a silly rooster who quacks and likes biscuit dough before moving on to more in-depth subjects like not judging people (or in this case, a box) on their outsides, getting ready to be a big sister, as well as recognizing that no one is perfect, we’re all different, and those differences don’t matter at all. De Jesus and Vannucci skillfully weave their backgrounds in mental health into their music, resulting in songs that entertain and teach but are never didactic. VERDICT A fun way to start conversations with children of all ages.–Veronica Schwartz De Fazio


Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing