Thursday, March 15, 2012

Children's Books in Music: List 2: Children's books and John Denver

 The first time that I read "Sunshine on My Shoulder's" to students in one of  my classes was on a hot day in May.   I read to my first graders right after they bounded into music class, hot, sweaty and parched from recess on the first mildly hot day in May.

They came in huffing and puffing and needing to cool off before we could really get anything done, so on a whim, I grabbed a new book that I had purchased that weekend and off we went....

I pushed play on the CD and as soon as the first calming chord was strum a calm washed over the room like a cool stream.  The entire room became still and reflective.  Students who had been bouncing with questions and "urgent" requests, focused and students who moments before had cartwheeled and spun their way to the back of the room, clamored over and cuddled close, like a pile of wet puppies.

My hot, sweaty, distracted students were stunned into focus.  By the second chorus they were hesitantly singing along and by the third chorus, they owned the song.  As soon as the last note faded away one of my more rambunctious students raised his hand and said, "Teacher, that song give me cry! Again?!!!"

Of COURSE, we can do this song again!.....

Needless to say, I've loved this book ever since. Imagine my excitement when I realized that more of John Denver's Songs were available as children's books.  My favorite part about these songs as children's books is that the experiences they represent are universal.  Grandma's Feather Bed and "Take Me Home Country Road" are just as relate-able and children delight in these books because they have experiences that make these songs seem familiar even if it's the first time they've heard the song.

Download List 2 HERE:  Books inspired by the songs of John Denver

I have All of these books - but I have not used "For Baby" in class.  If you have used it.... how so?  What do you think?

I hope that this list is helpful!

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