Children need music, just as they need reading and art. These splendid new CDs will take the whole family on journeys to dance, sing, clap and relax peacefully. Prices and lengths vary.

Land of Yangalele

Papa Siama with Auntie Dallas; Siama Music

Papa Siama, prolific composer and guitarist from Africa who made popular soukous music, aka “the sound of happiness,” in the 1970s and ’80s, lends his more traditional sound for kids here in Land of Yangalele. Jazz singer Dallas M. Johnson is his partner, and the pair hosts interactive African music programs for kids in New York.

Singing lyrics in English, Swahili, Lingala and Kikongo, the two provide listeners plenty to learn about vibrant African culture through their rich and exotic yet homey music. Siama’s deep vocals and Dallas’ strong female tones bounce off each other with harmony and love, and the lively sounding instruments run the gamut from acoustic guitar to the thumb piano, to the Jamaican rumba box, and even penny whistle and conga drums.

Audience participation is encouraged. The CD’s colorful liner notes includes a glossary, an Africa map, lyrics, guitar chords and even a fun quiz.

Zoom a Little Zoom! A Ride Through Science

By Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer; Community Music

Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer are two-time Grammy Award-winning folk and children’s music performers. Zoom a Little Zoom! A Ride Through Science is their 46th collaboration. Intended to excite a new generation of scientists, engineers and explorers, their latest CD is an update on the 1961 Ballads for the Age of Science.

“The science in the originals remains sound, not to mention the wonderful lyrics and melodies, 57 years after the original release,” Fink said.

The duo brings a new and exciting approach to songs like “Constellation Jig,” “Bobo the Bear: A Hibernation Song” and “What Makes the Lightening?” with western swing, klezmer and boogie-woogie, so kids can dance and learn that science is real and important.

An upbeat collection of catchy songs about rockets, animal habits, gravity and more, Zoom a Little Zoom! will certainly spark listeners’ curiosities. An activity guide with experiments and videos helps make it all come alive.

Wild Is Everywhere

By Sara Lovell; Unbreakable Chord Music

Lots of wild fantasy and imagination abound on Sara Lovell’s latest CD, Wild Is Everywhere, with 14 songs about flying children, a rhinoceros under a bed, “Raspberry Pickleberry Wormnut Pie,” and the unfairness of grown-ups getting to stay up late.

Lovell’s optimistic voice is clear and evolved. Her songs are incredibly joyful and full of curiosity, with the feeling that something great can happen at every moment.

With several different musical styles, from blues and funk, to disco and rock, Wild Is Everywhere helps kids remember how good life is.

Lullapop Lullabies

From Razor & Tie

Innovative record label Razor & Tie crafted Lullapop Lullabies with the millennial parent and child in mind, deciding to “lullify” and make instrumental chart-topping hits by Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Adele and more.

Using the glockenspiel, harp and piano, they’ve transformed songs parents know into serene and soothing lullabies for tots so everyone can relax, and feel comfortable and familiar.

Hits include Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean” and Justin Bieber’s “Despacito” and 18 others. Lovely, enchanting and fun, Lullapop Lullabies makes a fantastic baby gift.

The Starlighter

By Shawn Colvin; Amazon Originals

In The Starlighter, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin adapted and updated songs from the classic children’s music book Lullabies and Night Songs by composer Alec Wilder and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

She wanted to give her record some dynamics and choose some upbeat tunes. The result feels warm and poignant and very classically childlike.

Songs include “Go Tell Aunt Rhody,” “The Cuckoo Is a Pretty Bird,” “Minnie and Winnie” and 11 others. The Starlighter is another perfect gift for new and expecting parents.

— Lee Littlewood writes the Kids’ Home Library column for Creators. The San Diego wife and mom’s pure love of children’s literature helps her stay interested in words and pictures meant for tots to teens. Click here to contact her, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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