PRESIDENT'S DAY IN PHILADELPHIA WITH WXPN'S KATHY O'CONNELL
Monday, February 16th, is President's Day. Listen to WXPN.org (88.5 FM in PA, DE and NJ) where I'll be a guest on Kids Corner at 7:00 p.m. EST. You'll hear rare live acoustic versions of "What He Wrote" (Thomas Jefferson) and "Man in the Arena" (Theodore Roosevelt).
Host Kathy O'Connell and I will discuss some of our great presidents. We may get to "Eleanor" (Eleanor Roosevelt) and "Powerful" (Samantha Smith), two females who SHOULD have been President!
Join Kathy and me this President's Day as we laugh, reminisce, and celebrate. Who was the president wrote 36,000 letters? Which president's good sportsmanship inspired the first teddy bear? Who was the "man of many firsts?" Which president is the subject of more books than anyone else the past 2,000 years? Who was the president known as America's first wine connoisseur? Which of my heroes did Kathy O'Connell meet and interview live on her radio show?...
My interview of Valerie first appeared as a guest blog post at In Bed With Books, a blog site that reviews books (http://inbedwithbooks.blogspot.com/)
Fern Michonski is a fellow children's recording artist who recently interviewed me for her website.
Jonathan, your American Heroes Series is educational, fun and inspiring! The lyrics on these CD’s teach children about our many heroes, both past and present.
Obviously teachers have a wealth of information they can glean from your heroes songs that will reinforce lessons they are teaching the children about our heroes. And, it is a fact that when a concept that is being taught to children is put to music, it has a deeper impact and will be remembered more easily. I think it would be awesome to combine your heroes’ music with the spirit of giving and the Holidays!
Jonathan: There were a number of variables that came into play that enticed me to pivot my career and gradually transform from a “regular” children’s singer-songwriter recording artist into an educational heroes proponent. Twenty years ago I reached a point in my life where I wanted to leave more of a mark in this world and be of more service to humanity. In 1994, I read about a nation-wide survey in which children were asked who their heroes were. Their top-10 list included cartoon characters and obnoxious athletes. You’ve heard: “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” Entertaining and making children laugh was good, but not good enough for my purpose-driven life. Stephen Covey and his inspiring book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” was motivating me to study successful people. I always loved reading biographies. All of these things clicked into place for me when I came up with the idea to research, write, perform and record children’s music about heroes.
2. Right now we are in the midst of the Holiday Season. For many children, the holidays becomes a time where their focus is on gifts and what they would like to receive. Could you think of a way to help children come up with ideas as to how THEY could be a hero during the Holidays?...
Veteran's Day and Heroes
When I began writing about heroes for children in 1994, I had no idea my school concert bookings would significantly increase each year on and around Veterans Day: November 11. Learning about and singing the praises of this special day has been an unintended consequence of my mission to help children understand the nature of true heroes.
As we approach this important day, let's remember its origins. It began in 1926 as Armistice Day, which means Peace Day, as a result of the ending of WWI on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. That war was so bad, its survivors created a day that would remind us to do everything we can to get along with each other so we never again have to fight each other.
After releasing a full 10 albums during his career, accomplished children’s musician Jonathan Sprout has proved that he knows what he’s doing. His newest release, American Heroes #4, is further testament to that. What makes him unique is that this is not just an album of fun songs for kids; this is an informational album that’s going to teach children while they’re having fun. These are all fun, upbeat, optimistic songs that have a lesson to teach. And although they are geared toward children, they happen to be a fun listen no matter how old you might be.
In “Powerful,” for instance, Sprout explains how even the slightest choices can have a major impact on someone’s life. “Heads, Hearts, and Hands,” encourages kids to do well in school and live life respectably because after all, they are the future of the world. “Dr. Seuss” is a wacky, fun track about the famous children’s writer himself. Sprout sings in a goofy voice that is sure to be engaging for everyone listening. Although it’s a fun song, Sprout makes a point to remind listeners that every Dr. Seuss books still has an important story to tell.
“E=MC2,” is a song about Albert Einstein and the mathematic formula that made him so famous. What would be even more impressive would be if he made up an engaging song about all of the important mathematic formulas to help with the studies of high school level students.
Because this album is about this heroes of the world, it has the power to evoke inspiration from children everywhere. It’s clear that this guy has done his research for every single song. And because of this he probably has put more time into writing and composing his music than many other artists have.