I always enjoy it when an artist moves beyond their typical musical stylings and tries something new. That is exactly what Steve Pullara & His Cool Beans Band did recently with the video for their latest single, “Alien Babies From Outer Space.” This fun, quirky, electronica-filled tune is brought to life with retro-fueled imagery that recalls the early days of science fiction films. Children will love bopping around to the beat while watching the escapades of the adorably portrayed alien babies who are “coming to take us away!”
If you’ve been on social media in the past couple of weeks you’ve probably seen people posting about the 10 Year Challenge, which is just a picture of you from 10 years ago and one from today. As I was mulling over how to celebrate the release date of You Are Not Alone, the beautiful new picture book from Alphabet Rockers, I remembered this challenge and decided to take a stroll down memory lane and check out some of their early albums from my local library’s prolific music collection. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the first album I picked up…
…was from 2012!! That’s right! A decade ago, before they became the powerhouse champions for social justice they are today, Alphabet Rockers was creating a dance party of “learning, fitness, and early literacy.”
Fast forward 10 years to today and the debut of You Are Not Alone.
While Alphabet Rockers still believe in the things that made Go! so special, their messages have changed to reflect the world in which we live. You Are Not Alone is a bright, engaging picture book which encourages young readers (and as you’ll see below, young viewers) to love who they are, to celebrate all identities, and to “use their voices against hate.” The illustrations beautifully tell the story and when combined with the lyrical prose (“You don’t know me, but I bet you see the sun rise and set like I do…If you really knew me, when you’d see me you would think: You are Powerful, You are brave, You are brilliant”), makes readers want to reach out a hand to those around them and say, “You are not alone. I got you.” To learn more about how the story for You Are Not Alone came about and the process of creating the illustrations, visit We Need Diverse Books for a Q&A with Alphabet Rockers and illustrator Ashley Evans.
Check out the companion music video and song for You Are Not Alone below.
Welcome to Kids Rhythm and Rock’s fourth annual Children’s Music Roundup! For those of you new to the blog, each year rather than doing a best of list, instead, I compile a list of my favorite albums.
2021 was an amazing year for children’s music with innumerable new artists making their way into the spotlight while more established acts continued to create incredible music and forged new musical partnerships with those they met along the way. Let’s say hello to 2022 by taking a look back at “the year that was” in children’s music. Don’t see your favorites listed below? Add them in the comments!
Be Mindful, Be Kind
Music to guide our everyday lives.
- A Mind of Your Own performed by The Bright Siders
- Maybe by Next Year performed by Kid Pan Alley
- Frogs and Birds performed by Lindsay Munroe with Raffi
- Yoga Dreamland performed by Putamayo
Fun, fantastic tunes to brighten any day.
- A Colorful World performed by Falu
- You Are Magic performed by Allison Faith Levy
- 28 Days performed by Little Miss Ann
- Make it Happen! performed by Stacey Peasley
- I Am performed by Shine and the Moonbeams
This was always my favorite Jeopardy! category. In this case, it’s a fun way to group the jazziest jazz, the quirkiest tunes, and songs on some popular topics together.
- Seconds performed by Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots
- It’s for You performed by Flula Borg and Go Banana Go!
- What Kind of World? performed by Lucy Kalantari and the Jazz Cats
- Planetary Promenade performed by Billy Kelly
- From My Head to My Toes performed by Music with Mandy
- Ponderosa Bunchgrass & the Golden Rule performed by The Oot N’ Oots
Regional Superstars You Should Know
It’s easy to forget that our talented local performers aren’t well known all across the country. Here’s some from the past year everyone should give a try.
- All Together Now performed by Esther Crow (New York)
- Music Makes Me Happy performed by Katie Dwyer (New York)
- The Grumpytime Club performed by Carrie Ferguson (Massachusetts)
- Sing Your Song Performed by The Harmonica Pocket (Washington)
- All Together performed by Kathryn the Grape (California)
I dare you to try and sit still while listening to these albums!
- Crayon Kids performed by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
- Ready, Set, Go! performed by Divinity Roxx
- Invisible performed by Father Goose
- Family Tree performed by Fyütch
- Slow Clap performed by Koo Koo Kangaroo
Unique Musical Stylings
There was nothing else quite like these albums this year.
- Young Maestros, Vol. 1 performed by Tracy Bonham (these could be showtunes)
- Black to the Future performed by Pierce Freelon (Afrofuturism)
- Folk for Little Folk, Vol.1 performed by Gordie MacKeeman (award-winning fiddling)
- Okay to Be Different performed by SaulPaul (rap)
- The Beat Bach Symphonies performed by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo (rap with a symphony orchestra)
- The Strawberry Band performed by The Story Pirates (music based on children’s stories)
Visiting with Old Friends
- Let’s Go! performed by Laurie Berkner
- Love Me for Who I Am: The Remix performed by Brady Rymer
- Sharon, Lois & Bram Best of the Best Live performed by Sharon, Lois & Bram
- We’re All Fruit Salad performed by The Wiggles
Wide World of Music
These albums feature music in Spanish, Spanish and English, and music from as far away as New Zealand.
- Activate performed by 123 Andrés
- Pachamama performed by Flor Bromley
- Danilo & Chapis, Vol 1 performed by Danilo & Chapis
- Esperanza performed by Sonia De Los Santos
- Sing Through the Year performed by Claudia Robin Gunn
- A Mi Me Gusta Ser Yo *It’s Ok To Be Me performed by Twinkle Time
With a Little Help From My Friends
2021 was a year of amazing partnerships and collaborations.
- All One Tribe performed by 1 Tribe Collective
- Let It Out! performed by Mil’s Trills
- Let Love Be Your Guide performed by Dan & Claudia Zanes