So often Spring is celebrated with the blooming of flowers and arrival of baby animals while Fall is the time when trees are allowed to shine as they lose their leaves and prepare for winter. Suzi Shelton’s new song and video “Magnolia Tree” changes that. This charmingly animated video gives nods to Suzi’s Brooklyn home base while featuring a fantastically diverse group of young friends who gather under a beautiful magnolia tree as its springtime leaves and flowers make an appearance. Created through a collaboration between Dallas-based artist Jackie Land and Venezuela-based illustrator and animator Alcides Urrutia, who has worked with Latin Grammy winners 123 Andrés, the video perfectly pairs Suzi’s light, uplifting vocals with images that capture the freedom that comes with being outside and the joy of finding a special place to hang out with friends. “Magnolia Tree” is the perfect way to kickoff Spring.
School Library Journal’s (SLJ) “Top 10 Music of 2018” list is out. This year, items that qualified for the list followed the same release date timeline as those for GRAMMY and Fids and Kamily consideration – they had to be released between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018.
The criteria used to compile this list is slightly different as well. Along with the best overall quality, musicality and kid/family appeal of an album, the SLJ reviewers also look at selections from the point of view of librarians and teachers and recommend the best albums of the year to use in programs or the classroom.
This year’s Top 10 is varied enough to have a little something for everyone. Each album pictured below deserves a space in every library collection. Click here for to visit SLJ for brief descriptions of each album. Did your favorites make the list?
Welcome to Kids Rhythm and Rock’s first ever Children’s Music Roundup!! Throughout the past year I thought a lot about doing a “10 Best” list, but the music for children this year was so diverse and so dynamic, there was no way I could limit my choices. What I decided to do instead was to make a list of my favorite albums of the year, then break the list up by categories. (If I reviewed an album here, I’ve included the link.) So, without further ado, here is the 2018 Children’s Music Roundup!
Most Amazing Album Covers:
Come for the covers, stay for the fantastic music!
Be Mindful, Be Kind:
Music to guide our everyday lives.
Every Voice performed by Kira Willey
Dog on the Floor performed by Raffi
Oh, to be Little:
Perfect tunes for the preschool crowd.
Sounds of Summer:
Winter may soon be upon many of us, but these albums are good anytime of the year.
Camp Andyland performed by Andy Z
Fireflies performed by Mister G
Who knew science could be so fun?
Giants of Science performed by The Pop Ups
Kidz STEM Songs performed by Dan Crow and Friends
Zoom a Little Zoom: A Ride Through Science performed by Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer
Life Through a Special Set of Eyes:
Meet Jamey, his cat and his new puppy as they partake in the joys of summer.
Kitty Cat Under My Wheelchair performed by Steve Pullara and His Cool Beans Band
For Fans of the “Who Was/ Who Is” Series:
What better group of people to learn about than Nobel Laureates?
Legion of Peace performed by Lori Henriques Quintet featuring Joey Alexander
Where in the World…:
Music inspired by cultures from around the world.
Everything’s groovy in this collection.
All the Sounds performed by Lucy Kalantari and the Jazz Cats
We Only Have One Earth:
Celebrate all the creatures, great and small, on this planet we call home.
Back to the Land performed by Hot Peas ‘N Butter
Why Why Why? performed by Ants Ants Ants
Who can resist a bilingual playground?
Happy Land is Tierra Feliz performed by Mi Amigo Hamlet
There are many moms on this list, but the moms below can’t be categorized!
Music for a Cause:
Hold Tight, Shine Bright performed by 25+ children’s artists
This album was created to help keep families together. All proceeds go to RAICES Texas.
And finally –
Just Because They’re Awesome:
Building Blocks performed by Tim Kubart
Family Photo Album performed by Recess Monkey
Hand in Hand performed by Suzi Shelton
Did your favorites make the list?? Let me know in the comments below.
I have been a big fan of Suzi Shelton’s latest album, Hand in Hand, ever since I first heard it way back in June. The lyrics are fun and engaging and the instrumentation uplifting. This combination makes many of the songs stick in your head so that you find yourself randomly singing them in the shower, in the car, or even at work (being a children’s librarian, no one even gives this a second glance). One of my favorite songs, “The Grass is Always Greener,” now has a green screen video that was shot at YouTube Space NYC to go along with it. Featuring Suzi, her bandmates and a delightful assist from Tim Kubart, this is the perfect way to start off the week. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
You know when you listen to a Suzi Shelton album you’re in for a good time and Hand in Hand is no exception. A joy to listen to from beginning to end, Shelton’s latest album showcases her own brand of upbeat pop music filled with feel-good melodies and catchy lyrics. Each song is moderately paced allowing listeners to catch every word making each tune highly singable, while the arrangements are sophisticated yet simple enough to allow a variety of instruments (saxophone, electric guitar, trombone) to shine.
Several of the tracks on Hand in Hand would work well in storytime or early childhood programming. The opening song, “Put Your Hands in the Air,” is a great movement song that is performed fast enough to hold the attention of the young participants, but slow enough for them to catch the instructions that take them from making a joyful sound to stomping their feet to jumping up and down. “Ladybugs” could be made into a fun, interactive song using flannel board pieces, ladybugs on sticks, etc. as the participants count down from five to one in this jazzy version of the traditional rhyme. The tune “Blue Fin” would be fun to use with scarves as different colored “fins” are swimming in the water.
Additional highlights include the very poppy “Never Let You Go,” the island vibe of “River Come Down” and “Raindrop” which incorporates a fantastic new version of “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring.” Much like most of the songs on this album,”The Grass is Always Greener,” a duet with GRAMMY winner and former Sprout TV host Tim Kubart, will have listeners singing and smiling along.
Hand in Hand is a true delight that should not be missed!