Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

This Little Light of Mine, an Illustrated Song

Posted on: April 28, 2016

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This Little Light of Mine (Raffi Songs to Read)

Traditional Tune
Additional Words by Raffi
Illustrated by Stacey Schuett

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This Little Light walker
This Little Light of Mine (Sing and Read Storybook)
Traditional Tune
Adapted by Rachel Lisberg
Illustrated by Sylvia Walker

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this little light of mine EB Lewis
This Little Light of Mine
Traditional Tune
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis

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THIS LITTLE LIGHT is featured in:

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THIS LITTLE LIGHT is featured in:
lets sing together yarrow
Let’s Sing Together
Compiled by Peter Yarrow
Illustrated by Terry Widener
Collection of Folk Songs, Illustrated from the:
The Peter Yarrow Songbook Series

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THIS LITTLE LIGHT is featured in:
let it shine
Let it Shine (Three Favorite Spirituals)
Traditional Words and Tunes
Illustrated by Ashley Bryan

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I plan to share Raffi’s version for a few reasons.  First being that the adaptations and illustrations put the song in the context of a group of kids putting on a show, and not a religious context.  Every kid has a light to share with the world.

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5/7/2016
Emily’s thoughts on who gets celebrated, who is gifted, and the little light shining in each person.

I was vacuuming carpets this morning and my mind wandered as it always does while performing such activities.  Today my brain mused on genius, and how people gets marked as genius, and how children get tagged as “gifted and talented,” or as a kid with special needs.

I’ve come to understand that people have many different kinds of intelligence.  Unfortunately, schools (with their emphasis on standardized testing) only nurture and celebrate one kind of intelligence.  The kids who get praised and celebrated in public schools are the ones who are good at mastering a standard curriculum and thrive inside the mold crafted by that particular school district.

As one of my children has learning differences, I can write on this subject with some authority.  My child’s learning differences are really only “disabilities” in the context of the school system.  His brain is unconventionally wired.  My child is a non-traditional learner in a traditional learning environment.  In the wide world, however, he is not at all “disabled.”  In fact, he’s got some fantastic skills and abilities he would only have if his brain were wired the way that it is.

He is not any less capable of learning or less intelligent than any of his peers.  But the school system is not set up to meet the needs of is unconventional brain, the curriculum is not set up to teach him the way his brain is wired to learn, and teachers are not trained to teach him the way his brain is wired to learn.  If my husband and I were not so fortunate to have the time, desire and resources to step in, our child would have completely been lost in our public school system.  Our son would have been left to rot.

Since filling in the gaps is such a monumental challenge for us even under excellent conditions, I can only imagine how many children are floundering, rotting, feeling badly about themselves, dropping out, and giving up.

Because I know the high quality of my child’s mind, I have to assume that many of the children with fewer resources who are being allowed to fall through the cracks also have quality minds.  Remember those ads for the United Negro College Fund that said, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”?  It’s true.  And because the needs of children with unconventional brain wiring are not being met, there are a lot of minds (and spirits) being damaged and wasted.  There is a lot of valuable human capital being left on the table.

Because I have come to understand that there are many different kinds of intelligence, I think it is possible that every person has been gifted with some kind of genius.  Instead of school systems only praising and celebrating those who demonstrate one kind of academic genius, wouldn’t it be better for the world if part of the job of the system were to help tease out, support and nurture each child’s special gift (whatever it is)?

I’ve been surviving on the premise that even if school is not where my child shines, the world will create niches and opportunities for him that only he can fill because of the unique set of skills that his “differences” have given him.  Even though the learning differences function as “disabilities” in the traditional learning environment, his differences have given him some incredible innate skill and abilities. Unfortunately, those skills are not necessarily rewarded, praised, or celebrated in the traditional learning environment.  And by the time he enters the world in which those skills and abilities are particularly valuable, he will be carrying baggage and scars from the horrible experiences he had in the traditional learning environment.  I think this is happening (and has happened) to many children, for a very long time.

I don’t know how to fix the system. I am not an administrator. I’m just a parent who has been scrambling up a gravel hill, just trying to help my child make it through school. One thing that comes to mind is that every school have an office of people who really, really KNOW the needs of bright kids with learning differences and how to help support those kids according to their needs instead of blaming those kids for failing while having a learning difference when really it is the system’s fault for not teaching the way that child needs to learn.

Believe it or not, this whole essay comes right back to THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE.  Every kid should be nurtured to find his or her LIGHT (his or her specific genius) and then that genius should be nurtured, supported, praised, and celebrated.  And not just for the benefit of that kid alone, but for the benefit of the community, our country, and the world.

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THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE
Traditional Words and Tune
Words Adapted by Raffi

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.

I’m gonna take this light around the world
And I’m gonna let it shine.
I’m gonna take this light around the world
And I’m gonna let it shine.
I’m gonna take this light around the world
And I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.

I won’t let anyone blow it out.
I’m gonna let it shine.
I won’t let anyone blow it out.
I’m gonna let it shine.
I won’t let anyone blow it out.
I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.

Every day, every way,
I’m gonna let my little light shine.

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THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Little_Light_of_Mine

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THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE lyrics:
http://www.negrospirituals.com/songs/this_little_light_of_mine.htm

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A big of info about songs origins, here:
http://www.sharefaith.com/guide/Christian-Music/hymns-the-songs-and-the-stories/this-littlie-light-of-mine,-the-song-and-the-story.html

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Related Posts

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SUNDAY SCHOOL SONGS
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/sunday-school-songs-in-singable-picture-books/

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ASHLEY BRYAN
The Singable Picture Books of Ashley Bryan
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/the-singable-picture-books-of-ashley-bryan/

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AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH

Singable Picture Books Celebrating African American History Month with Songs, Poems and Illustrations by Prominent African American Artists as well as Musical Picture Books Celebrating Important African American Musical Artists
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/singable-picture-books-celebrating-african-american-history-month/

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TOLERANCE AND COMPASSION
Singable Picture Books Celebrating Tolerance and Compassion (another list inspired by Nikki)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/singable-picture-books-celebrating-tolerance-and-compassion-another-list-inspired-by-nikki/

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WHOLE WORLD IN SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/whole-world-in-singable-picture-books/

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RAFFI
The Singable Picture Books of Raffi
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/the-singable-picture-books-of-raffi/

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PETER YARROW SONGBOOK SERIES

A list of the Singable Picture Books from the Peter Yarrow Songbook series:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/the-case-for-singing-with-children-from-peter-yarrow/

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