Note: These descriptions of new releases are sent in by the CMN members mentioned, but they may have been edited by Pass It On! staff for style, consistency, or length. The materials have not been reviewed. In addition to the sources listed, many recordings are available at local independent children’s book and record stores.
John Cullimore / Chibi Kodama
Stardust went worldwide on May 27. It is Chibi Kodama’s third album, and it explores a wide range of thoughts, insecurities, and struggles that each and every one of us wrestles with daily, coming, in the end, to triumphant conclusion and purpose. The album was written and inspired by the struggles of the Cullimore family after dad (John) had a surgery that went kind of wrong in recovery. To be frank, Stardust is about being honest with ourselves and overcoming the tendency we all have to just float along and not live to the fullest. Chibi Kodama, in their big, loud, family way, continues to explore energetic, all-ages indie rock. Full of thick guitars, big beats, synths, and catchy hooks, it’s sure to have the whole family singing along. Featuring the voices of John, Yvonne, and their three oldest daughters, Stardust is a great fit for families who love hard rock but want something encouraging for the whole family to enjoy together. For more about this, as well as other albums, head over to
John Cullimore / Chibi Kodama
Also released in May was Stardust’s slightly louder sibling, Dragons. After writing and completing Stardust, the Chibi Kodama crew went on an adventure to KindieComm in Philadelphia. The experience was beyond encouraging for them all, and John got inspired to write once again. Jumping from the themes of one specific song from Stardust, Dragons is a seven-song rock opera wandering through the internal struggle of how we hold ourselves back and keep ourselves from adding our beauty to those around us. Dragons is an encouraging story of self-discovery, as well as realizing that we all are needed to make this world work. Written, recorded, and completed in just two and a half weeks, Dragons was a whirlwind in coming to life. The whole family worked hard every night after dad got off work to record their parts and get it done. A cohesive, hard-rocking bit of all-ages indie rock that will also serve as a nonstop performance piece during concerts. For more info on this and other albums, visit
David & Jenny Heitler-Klevans / Two of a Kind
We’re All In This Together
After celebrating twenty-five years of performing and recording for kids and families, David and Jenny Heitler-Klevans of Two of a Kind are back with their ninth CD! We’re All in This Together focuses on working together to solve big problems and have fun. The theme of working together is explored through a variety of topics, including caring about the environment. The CD is mostly original songs, along with one by CMNers Stuart Stotts and Tom Pease, a story from Kenya, and a parody of a Beatles song (“Kelp!”). The album has already won a 2016 Creative Child CD of the Year Award and is getting rave reviews.
Two of a Kind was joined in the studio by a kids’ chorus of students from Cheltenham Elementary and Abington Friends School, many additional musicians, and David and Jenny’s twin sons Ari and Jason!
The album can be purchased at Two of a Kind’s website, www.twoofakind.com. Individual song downloads, instrumental (karaoke) tracks, sheet music, and even a songbook for the whole CD can be found on the Songs for Teaching website.
John Keenan & Jo-Anne Wilson-Keenan / Bay Song
Spaceship Earth: Caring for Our Planet
From their home in Massachusetts, John and Jo-Anne hear the wind and waves of Cape Cod Bay. So they call their musical group Bay Song. After writing a nature curriculum that is used in over twenty-five summer programs, they began writing and recording environmental songs. Their new album portrays Earth as a spaceship that needs our care. Geared toward school-age children, the well-crafted songs are strong on content. Some cover familiar territory, such as habitats and recycling. Others branch into less charted waters, such as biodiversity, watersheds, the web of life, and the importance of the oceans. The album includes tributes to environmental heroes Rachel Carson and Pete Seeger.
Other Cape Cod performers on the album include singers Anna McEntee, Arianna Santamaria, Shannon Hart, and pianist Jack Hart.
Available on CD Baby, iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon. The website keenanliteracy.com offers a download of the Spaceship Earth Songbook.
To Follow Apollo
Audience-tested songs used in science presentations at local elementary schools! Here are the adventures of Tommy and Laura, two young space explorers that follow in the footsteps of the bold Apollo moon program and go on to visit many other interesting places in space. These seven original songs have been used to inspire young thinkers with the science and history of human and robotic space exploration. Written and performed by a real space scientist and singer/songwriter, Dr. Jim Thorne, these songs send an optimistic message about the future of space flight for all humankind. Follow the adventures of Tommy and Laura into space as they learn to explore the solar system, follow in the footsteps of the bold Apollo astronauts, and go beyond to the stars!
Available at CD Baby.
Dave Kinnoin / Grin Brigade
Crazy With Happiness
Crazy With Happiness by Grin Brigade literally pushes the limit of how much can be contained on a single CD. It is filled to the brim with thirteen musical styles: Beatlesque, Broadway, country, dance, folk, funk, jazz, jug band, lullaby, marching band, pop, rock, and vaudeville. Grin Brigade is a team of five songwriters, twenty-four singers (seventeen singing lead), thirteen musicians, and six producers in the United States and United Kingdom. Ten new songs were written, for a total of twenty-six, and it all became Crazy With Happiness, the 2016 Song Wizard Records release.
Members of Grin Brigade come from all over the musical map and include a hit country songwriter, the lead singer for a famous rock band, an R&B and pop luminary, up-and-comer singer-songwriter-producer Oliver Kinnoin, and our own Dave Kinnoin. Crazy With Happiness has songs to make you happy, songs to make you think, songs to make you feel, and songs to make you laugh. So dive in, discover your favorites and, most of all, have fun!
Available from CDBaby, iTunes, and in stores nationwide.
Multiple national award–winning singer-songwriter Patricia Shih has released her ninth CD (her fourth for adults), a tribute to one of her role models, Pete Seeger. For lovers of folk music and Pete, the collection contains twelve of his best-loved original classics along with some lesser-known gems and songs written by others that he made famous. The thirteenth song is one Patricia wrote and that Pete liked enough to sing in concert several times: twice with Patricia and once with the Disabled in Action Singers at Lincoln Center, where the crowd of 6,000 gave it a standing ovation.
The CD also marks the debut of her husband and accompanist Stephen Fricker’s lead and harmony vocals, along with his playing on many instruments.
Available at www.patriciashih.com.
Kathy Reid-Naiman’s Welcome Summer is a happy-go-lucky romp through a fragrant meadow where everything is fresh and exciting and fun. Her songs are simple and evocative in the most wonderful ways, full of bright, whimsical, adventurous colors and sounds and stories. Sing the Cold Winter Away and When It’s Autumn celebrated winter and autumn, and now we sing about birds, bees, butterflies, campfires, and starry skies! Kathy’s clear, sweet voice is pitch and storytelling perfect. Her articulation is pristine without interrupting the natural, conversational flow. The musicianship, which includes that of Kathy’s husband and recording artist Arnie Naiman, is stellar. Producer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist Ken Whiteley once again helps Kathy create a masterpiece that will delight young children and the rest of us.
Available at CD Baby and Merriweather Records.
It’s Amazing! Liz Buchanan’s fourth album delivers fun songs about stories, science, and nature, and celebrates creativity and imagination. Liz wrote many of the songs with children in pre-K through first grade, such as “No Fire, Dragon!” and a terrific rocker about T-rex. Following up on Liz’s earlier songs about folktales, this CD includes a musical retelling of the Tortoise and the Hare, a song that also helps kids learn about musical tempo. Songs such as “Amazing,” “Imagination,” and “Just a Little Seed” provide a celebration of children’s potential and grit. This is a great album for listening, singing, and dancing, and can also accompany classroom lesson plans and library story hours.
Cover artwork is by Molly Knobloch (Liz’s daughter) and graphic design by Mel Green.
Liz Buchanan is an award-winning singer-songwriter and music teacher in the
Boston area. She writes a music and literacy blog at her web page,
This CD is available for sale at her site, CDBaby, or Songs for Teaching.
Water We Singing About?
Water We Singing About? is an album of fourteen water education songs for educators, children, and families! The album is designed for use with twenty activities from the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0 and includes a listing of the activity or activities that go with each song. The Project WET Foundation is excited about this venture!
Kevin Kopp has been performing music about the environment “In a Natural Key” for over twenty years. In 2003, Kevin received the Outstanding Environmental Educator Award from the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education. Kevin founded Environmental Education Youth Services, Inc., an environmental education consulting service, in 2003 and is the State Coordinator of New Jersey Project WET. His consulting practice allows him to utilize his talents as an educator, naturalist, curriculum writer, and performer with people of all ages.
Available from CD Baby.
Dave Kinnoin / Dave Kinnoin and Ken Frawley
Dave Kinnoin wrote, produced (with John Hoke), and sang twenty original songs for the Signed Phonics book and CD package. It features twenty-three phonics lessons that combine American Sign Language (ASL) and fun songs to support the memorization and recall of the most-used phonics rules for decoding words and supporting reading readiness. Signed Phonics requires no musical, singing, or signing experience. The package provides parents, teachers, preschool professionals, and caregivers with everything needed to succeed, including clear photographs for each sign, easy-to-follow teaching instructions, insights and tips, and a CD recording of every song—plus FREE ONLINE VIDEO instruction and demonstrations for each song and sign and FREE DOWNLOADS for a wide variety of support materials.
Signed Phonics lessons are a step-by-step process beginning with ABC sight recognition, first letter sounds, single sound consonants, long and short vowels, rhymes, rhyming, and simple consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words. From there lessons grow phonemic awareness to the tricky letter Y, silent E, hard and soft C, G, and S, as well as an all-sound letter sound rap. These lessons are ideal for preschoolers, early elementary age children, English as a second language learners, and as a review for older elementary, middle school, and high school students. Unleash the power of songs and ASL to support learning with this wonderful program.
Available at www.4parentsandteachers.com.
Fern Carver Michonski
Fern Carver Michonski of FernsMusicForKids.com has just released her newest single, “Bone-Diggy Boo!” with music and vocals by Fern and lyrics by colleague Cheryl Elizabeth Waddell. A haunting musical arrangement accented by spine-tickling special effects sets the tone for a little boy’s Halloween encounter with himself. Based on a true story, a would-be trick-or-treater gets dressed up in his costume and hurries down the hall to take a peek at himself in the mirror. When he sees a skeleton staring back at him, he is frightened out of his wits until, assured by his mom and dad, he takes off his mask and sees it is himself looking back. He laughs aloud, dons his mask, and
“With a rattle, skedaddle,
A how do you do?
With a Bone-diggy, Bone-diggy,
he heads out the door to trick-or-treat, a self-assured skeleton giving friends quite a fright of their own. “Bone-Diggy Boo!” provides children with a balance of fun and frights as well as a sense of assurance as they anticipate and celebrate Halloween.
Available for download on CD Baby or iTunes.