Tag Archives: music


The sounds of science – these are all brand new picture books that deal with science: the science of sound and light. Share these books during science but also during social studies or just before music lessons.

Sounds All Around, the Science of How Sound Works by Susan Hughes, illustrated by Ellen Rooney. From natural sounds like the buzzing of a bee or the clap of thunder, to instruments and sirens – this book looks at how sounds happen and what they communicate. A nonfiction book for budding readers. ISBN 978-1-5253-0250-3, Kids Can Press

Listen Up! Train Song, by Victoria Allenby is a board book for toddlers, turning all train sounds into a song. A story to share aloud, teaching the importance of rhyme and rhythm in poetry while having fun with onomatopoeia. ISBN 978-1-77278-213-4, Pajama Press

My City Speaks, Darren Lebeuf, art by Ashley Barron is a lovely, colourful picture book for the very youngest readers about all things city. From mailboxes to construction sites, from city parks to sidewalk shops, a sight-impaired girl explores her city and its sounds. Complete with a heartwarming ending. ISBN 978-1-5253-0414-9, Kids Can Press

Lights Day and Night, The Science of how Light Works written by Susan Hughes, art by Ellen Rooney is a wonderful first guide to the science of light. It explains in simple terms how light travels, how light is absorbed or reflected. It tells of the difference between natural and artificial light. A glossary in the back gives more details on terms. The entire picture book is a perfect balance between text and art, story and science. ISBN 978-1-5253-0319-7, Kids Can Press

The Science of Song, How and Why we Make Music, by Alan Cross, Emma Cross and Nicole Mortillaro is a fascinating account of music, what it is and how we make it. From the oldest instrument (a bone flute of 40,000 years old) to rock star holograms, this new nonfiction title chronicles the history of music people have made over the ages, and how it works. Here, finally, is a book that especially music teachers will love! ISBN 978-1-77138-787-3, Kids Can Press

And speaking of sounds and music, here’s a novel about a musical legend, reviewed by teen-aged reader Matilda Colvin:  Kid Sterling by Christine Welldon.

It’s 1906 in America. Sterling Crawford, a 11-year-old trumpet-player, lives with his family in New Orleans. He’s set on learning from Buddy Bolden, an icon who is now remembered as a father of jazz. Being African American, Sterling also grapples with the devastating systemic racism of early-20th-century America. The story of Kid Sterling shines a light on the beginnings of jazz culture through its roots in oppression, solidarity, and courage. Its engaging narrative weaves coming-of-age and historical fiction to the soulfully defiant sound of a jazz trumpet. Kid Sterling is as much about the evolution of a vibrant genre as it is about one determined boy. Buzzing with jazz history and bursting with life, this book will be devoured by young music fans and aspiring jazz artists—as well as anyone who’s interested in the story of a creative kid with a dash of vivid history.  ISBN 978-0889956162, Red Deer Press

Margriet Ruurs is the Canadian author of many books for children. She shares her travels to international schools and her passion for books here: www.globetrottingbooklovers.com

We Went Viral!: Celebrating Teachers Makes Good TV


Follow Me on Twitter @msmeadowstweets

Choir kids will relate: our beloved music teacher from high school is battling cancer, and we wanted to show our support. She wasn’t up for lots of visits, so we pulled together to create a video of us singing one of her favourite songs: “Seasons of Love” from Rent. It was a simple gesture, but one we hoped would cheer and comfort a person who’s impacted so many.

Turns out, not only choir kids can relate: shortly after sharing it with the school district (who shared it on Facebook), Good Morning America featured us on their website. Next, the story got picked up by Ashton Kutcher’s media company, A Plus. Then, the local National Public Radio station did a piece on us. After that, the newspaper printed an article. The story gained so much traction that Good Morning America decided to feature it on their national broadcast. They flew Mama Lu, as we affectionately refer her, out to New York for an interview. More than 40 of Mama Lu’s former students also made it to NYC (most paying their own way), and surprised her on set, along with original Rent stars Tracie Thoms and Anthony Rapp, who traveled from England and LA to be there. The video clip of the performance, posted online, has almost 400,000 views already, and hundreds of touching comments.

Mama Lu has been interviewed for each of these stories, and continues to emphasize how touched she is that we took time from our personal lives for her. Fellow educators will not be surprised to hear that Mama Lu gave countless weekends, evenings, and weekend evenings to us – rehearsing, performing, and making music together. Time from our personal lives? This is nothing compared to what she invested in her students over the course of a dedicated career.

Every child should have the opportunity to learn from educators whose positive impact sticks with them for years.  

A quote from Mama Lu: “I think it proves that with teaching you really don’t know what kind of an influence you’re going to have 20 years later. So, you just do your best.”

A reminder that what you do, as educators, matters.

For a little feel-good boost today, enjoy this uplifting, suitable-for-work story.


What makes an educator influential?