Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

The Singable Picture Books of Bob Dylan

Posted on: November 15, 2011

I read something written about Bob Dylan, that his songs changed with way people thought.  That is certainly true for me.  It was BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND.  I didn’t even know it was a Bob Dylan song for years.  It was first introduced to me by my teachers in a program, 4th-6th grade, called THE UNIT, at Fall Creek Elementary School in Indianapolis, IN.  I was incredibly lucky to have had those teachers.  Some of them played the guitar and taught us to sing that song. It taught me to think for myself and to ask those questions: how many, why, when…  I hope we all continue to ask those questions.  It’s important.

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Blowin’ in the Wind
Words and Music by Bob Dylan
Illustrated by Jon J. Muth

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Forever Young
Words and Music by Bob Dylan
Illustrated by Paul Rogers

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joven para siepre (forever young in spanish) dylan rogers
Joven Para Siempre (Forever Young, Spanish Edition)
Words and Music by Bob Dylan
Illustrated by Paul Rogers

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if dogs run free
If Dogs Run Free
Words and Music by Bob Dylan
Illustrated by Scott Campbell

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if not for you cover image - Copy
If Not for You
Words and Music by Bob Dylan
Illustrated by David Walker

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Man Gave Names to All the Animals
Words and Music by Bob Dylan
Illustrated by Jim Arnosky
Sterling, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1402768583

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Man Gave Names to All the Animals
Words and Music by Bob Dylan
Illustrated by Scott Menchin

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From the “Not Necessarily Singable” department, but terrific book about the power of music

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When Bob Met Woody (the Story of the Young Bob Dylan)
Written by Gary Golio
Illustrated by Marc Burckhardt

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Bob Dylan’s website:
http://www.bobdylan.com/

An informative wiki article about Bob Dylan with many details about his incredible life and achievements:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Dylan

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Martin Scorsese’s documentary “NO DIRECTION HOME” offers amazing insight into his amazing career and how he became, and continues to become, one of the greatest of artists.

The trailer for the film, here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOUtzHizr9A

Izzy Young, former owner of the legendary Folk Center in Greenwich Village in NYC, had this to say about what made Bob Dylan’s songs stand out,

“By writing good songs…Writing about contemporary ideas in traditional forms which I understood.  And it made it like it written today, current and old at the same time.”

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For the visual representation of artist Bob Dylan, I love this iconic poster (originally included with Bob Dylan’s “Greatest Hits” album) made by illustrator great Milton Glaser,

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Addendum, 10/13/2016

BOB DYLAN WINS THE 2016 NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 was awarded to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”
https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2016/

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NY Times, October 13, 2016
Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize, Redefining Boundaries of Literature
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/arts/music/bob-dylan-nobel-prize-literature.html

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NY Times, September 29, 2013
Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Nobel’s Door
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/opinion/sunday/knock-knock-knockin-on-nobels-door.html

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NY Times, March 2, 2016
Bob Dylan’s Secret Archive
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/06/arts/music/bob-dylans-secret-archive.html

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NY Times, October 13, 2016
Bob Dylan, the Musician: America’s Great One-Man Songbook
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/arts/music/bob-dylan-nobel-prize.html

Exerts from this article that I found particularly inspiring: 

“Mr. Dylan’s words are written to be sung, that they are physical emanations of breath and pitch and articulation…”

“He can sharpen their barbs, tease out their mixed emotions and infuse them with passion or irony, constantly rescuing them from their own familiarity — constantly recharging his reputation, as if he hadn’t already earned it all. “

“…the way he drew his very individual, paradigm-shifting radicalism from folk music’s memory, its imaginative preservation of tradition…”
“Long before the prizes started rolling in, he had already rewired our minds. Still, better late than never.”

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WHY BOB DYLAN IS A LITERARY GENIUS:
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/why-bob-dylan-is-a-literary-genius-w454731
Rolling Stone Magazine, 12/9/2016

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Read Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature Banquet Speech
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/read-bob-dylans-nobel-prize-in-literature-banquet-speech-w455059

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Addendum, December 2016

I watched Patti Smith sing Bob Dylan’s song a few days ago and sitting here even now, I am overwhelmed with weeping. She forgot the words in the middle and started again. I’m sure some will say she made a mistake. But, to me, the performance was perfect. It was human. “A Hard Rain” was sung by someone who knows the writer, who knows and has lived what the song is about. You could not possibly find a greater example of heart, dedication, knowledge of the subject or authenticity. It occurred to me a few months ago that maybe it would be good to explore the idea of giving up a search for perfection and instead seek something superior. Like a knitted object that has a mistake has more soul than one that doesn’t. Or that, in Japan, treasured pottery is mended with gold, fixing the hole, but honoring the fracture and the repair. I think this happened when Patti Smith sang. The performance had more soul and authenticity but for that very moment. I’m not saying all mistakes are good, but depending on the context, and how it is handled, sometimes it makes for something marvelous, and better than perfection.

Another thing I got from Patti Smith singing the song was the love and the desire to do the song justice. She really did. I hope her momentary lapse will not be a painful memory to her.

For me, it is one of the most beautiful things I ever saw.

HOW DOES IT FEEL (New Yorker commentary by Patti Smith)
http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/patti-smith-on-singing-at-bob-dylans-nobel-prize-ceremony?reload

A TRANSCENDENT PATTI SMITH ACCEPTS BOB DYLAN’S NOBEL PRIZE
http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/a-transcendent-patti-smith-accepts-bob-dylans-nobel-prize

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Related Articles

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Blowin’ in the Wind, a Singable Picture Book

https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/blowin-in-the-wind-a-singable-picture-book/

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BOB DYLAN
The Singable Picture Books of Bob Dylan
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/the-singable-picture-books-of-bob-dylan/

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WOODY GUTHRIE
The Singable Picture Books of Woody Guthrie
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/the-singable-picture-books-of-woody-guthrie/

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