Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Illustrated Songs in Emily’s Sing Books Repertoire that have Female Protagonists

Posted on: March 18, 2017

I’m going to be honest about my point of view.  I think girls need more role models in literature, theater, art and song.  This is not to take anything away from the boys!  Certainly not!  But through all of history, most of the characters in any works of art are male.  Girls need role models, too.  They certainly need more role models than they have.

For this list, and its companion list of songs with MALE PROTAGONISTS, I’m exploring my own repertoire for gender representation in songs.  Please note once more, this assembly of songs represents ONLY those from my personal repertoire (a representative subset, a Solar System, if you will, in the galaxy of songs in the world).

There are many songs in my repertoire that don’t have characters (ABCs or Feliz Navidad, for example) or that don’t make a point of the character’s genders (All God’s Critters or Five Little Owls)

For a number of old rhymes, for which I may have adapted, or for which I completely wrote a new tune, I purposefully changed the gender.  Most rhyme, like everything else, were written about male characters. I took some artistic liberty and made those same characters female.

Writing this on 3/18/2017, approximate count of my repertoire’s illustrated songs:
With male protagonists: 66
With female protagonists: 38

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When wrote this version of BINGO for myself, I purposefully made Bingo a female
Mrs Gs Musical Bingo Zoo w Limberjack Dog
BINGO for Mrs. G’s Sing Books with Emily Musical Zoo and Limberdog
Traditional Words and Tune
Adaptations by ELEG for SBWE

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bring us water molly pitcher
Bring Us Water, Molly Pitcher (A Fun Song About the Battle of Monmouth)
Book by Michael Dahl
Sing to the Tune of She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain
Illustrated by Sandra D’Antonio
From the Fun Song Series

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catalina magdalena hoopensteiner
Catalina Magdalena Hoopensteiner Wallendiner Hogan Logan Bogan Was Her Name

Traditional Words and Tune
Words Adapted by Tedd Arnold
Illustrated by Tedd Arnold

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The character telling this story is a girl.

C’mon and Swing in My Tree (The Sunflowers)
Words and Music by Michael Taylor Fontaine
Illustrated by Giselle Potter

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I think Dolly Parton is a hero, and so is the girl in her song.
coat of many colors parton boynton-hughes
Coat of Many Colors
Words and Music by Dolly Parton
Illustrated by Brooke Boynton-Hughes

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The song is about a girl going to the Easter Parade up 5th Avenue in NYC

Easter Parade
Words and Music by Irving Berlin
Illustrated by Lisa McCue
Published by HarperCollinsPublishers, New York
ISBN 0-06-029125-7

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This fairy is a real hero in my book! The poem was written in 1918 by Rose Fyleman.  I love to sing this song with Ginger Sand’s jubilant musical setting.
fairy went a marketing
A Fairy Went A-Marketing
Poem by Rose Fyleman
Illustrated by Jamichael Henterly
Musical Setting can be found by Ginger Sands on her collection “The Gift of Make Believe

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This version has a mama duck
five little ducks w holes
Five Little Ducks (Classic Books with Holes)

Classic Books with Holes Series
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated by Penny Ives

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The Statue of Liberty is a fine female heroic icon, and so is Emma Lazarus who wrote the poem and gave voice to Lady Liberty
new-colossus-song-sheet-w-music-sbwe
“Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor” and THE NEW COLOSSUS 
Poem by Emma Lazarus
Music by Irving Berlin
Chords by ELEG for SBWE
To view or print this page, click here:
new-colossus-song-sheet-w-music-sbwe

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Grandma’s Feather Bed (John Denver’s)
Words and Music by Jim Connor
Adapted and Illustrated by Christopher Canyon

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SBWE SBS how doth busy bee
How Doth the Little Busy Bee Song Sheet with Guitar Chords by ELEG for SBWE

Poem by Isaac Watts
Traditional Tune
Song Sheet Coordinated by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus

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Mama appeases the baby in this version

Hush, Little Baby

Traditional Rhyme and Tune
Illustrated by Marla Frazee

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Mama appeases the baby in this version

Hush, Little Baby

Traditional Words and Tune (Sing to the tune of “Hush Little Baby”)
Words Adapted by Sylvia Long
Illustrated by Sylvia Long
(This adaptation has a wonderful “non-material” theme where the mother offers the gift of viewing  lovely things in nature)

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Girls can make some real hay in the “I Know/There Was an Old Lady/Woman” songs
PS:  This one is my favorite
old lady who swallowed a dreidel
I Know and Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel
Adaptation by Caryn Yacowitz
Illustrated by David Slonim

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Girls can make some real hay in the “I Know and Old Lady/Woman” songs

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie

Traditional Words and Tune
Words Adapted by Alison Jackson
Illustrated by Judy Schachner

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Sung by a woman about her male love…it’s a wash, but gender plays a part!

I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog
Words and Music by Leslie Braunstein
Performed by Peter Paul & Mary
Illustrated by Joshua S. Brunet
ISBN 978-1-936140-37-4

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Dinah blows her horn, but a guy is singing and playing the banjo

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

Traditional Words and Tune
Edited by Ann Owen
Illustrated by Sandra D’Antonio

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keep on sewing betsy ross
Keep On Sewing, Betsy Ross! (A Fun Song About the First American Flag)
Book by Michael Dahl
Sing to the Tune of Yankee Doodle
Illustrated by Sandra D’Antonio
From the Fun Song Series

*
keep-on-sewing-betsy-ross-w-chords
Keep On Sewing, Betsy Ross! (Lyrics with Guitar Chords)
Words by Michael Dahl
Sing to the Tune of Yankee Doodle
Guitar Chords by ELEG for SBWE
To view or print this page, click here:
keep-on-sewing-betsy-ross-w-chords

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The Lady with the Alligator Purse
Traditional Words and Music
Words Adapted by Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott

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little miss muffet eleg sbwe
Little Miss Muffet for SBWE
Traditional Words and Tune
little miss muffet eleg sbwe

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lucy locket w chords 4 sbwe johnstone
Lucy Locket with Guitar Chords for SBWE (Johnstone Illustration)
Traditional Words and Tune
Sing to the Familiar First Verse Tune Used for Yankee Doodle
Guitar Chords by ELEG for SBWE
Illustration by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone
From Dean’s Mother Goose Book of Rhymes, 1977

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LYDIA THE TATTOED LADY 4SBWE cover only
Lydia the Tattooed Lady
Words by Yip Harburg
Music by Harold Arlen

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marsupial sue - Copy
Marsupial Sue
Words by John Lithgow
Music by Bill Elliott
Illustrated by Jack E. Davis

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Mary Had a Little Lamb
Traditional Tune
Original Rhyme by Sarah Josepha Hale
Illustrated by Salley Mavor

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maria had a little llama
Maria Had a Little Llama/María Tenía una Llamita
Written and Illustrated by Angela Dominguez
Sing to the Tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb
ISBN 978-0-8050-9333-9

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Mary Wore Her Red Dress (and Henry Wore His Green Sneakers)
Traditional Words and Tune
Words Adapted by Merle Peek
Illustrated by Merle Peek

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Oh Mother Dear Please Listen Up by ELEG for SBWE
Oh Mother Dear Please Listen Up Song Sheet avec Guitar Chords by ELEG for SBWE
Sing to the Tune of Twinkle Little Star
Words by Emily Gleichenhaus
Adapted from Ah vous dirai-je Maman
Page Coordinated by ELEG for SBWE

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1234-mary-cherry-johnstone-copy
One Two Three Four Mary at the Cottage Door
Traditional Rhyme
Tune and Chords by ELEG for SBWE
Illustrated by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone

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pie sat on a pear tree eleg sbwe
A Pie Sat on a Pear Tree
Traditional Rhyme
Tune and Chords by ELEG for SBWE
To view or print this page, click here:
pie sat on a pear tree eleg sbwe

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penny's song eleg sbwe lyrics w chords 2
Penny’s Song (lyrics w chords)

Words and Music by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus
To view or print this sheet, click here:
penny’s song eleg sbwe lyrics w chords 

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ruby-the-red-nose-reindeer-eleg-sbwe-w-chords
RUBY THE RED NOSE REINDEER
Words by Emily Gleichenhaus
Music by Johnny Marks
Sketch by ELEG
To view or print this song, click here:
ruby-the-red-nose-reindeer-eleg-sbwe-w-chords

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She'll Be Comin Round the Mountain SBWE
She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain for SBWE and Limberhorse
Traditional Words and Tune
Adapted by Emily for SBWE
Page by ELEG for SBWE

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The Sparrow
Words and Music by Jill Leger
Illustrated by Jill Leger
Sing-Along on Youtube with a karaoke video of “The Sparrow”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hlxqa-eXTVw
Emily’s recording of “The Sparrow” on:
http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/the-sparrow-eleg-by-jill-leger

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sweet suffolk owl book for singing book cover
Sweet Suffolk Owl
Poem Attributed to an Anonymous Author
Illustrations Assembled by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus

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Katie Casey is the female hero in this song

Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Words by Jack Norworth
Music by Albert Von Tilzer
Illustrated by Amiko Hirao
Performed by Carly Simon

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tossed up in a basket eleg 4 sbwe
There Was an Old Woman Tossed Up in a Basket
Traditional Words and Tune Adapted by ELEG
Guitar Chords by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus
Illustration by Ursula Koering
From Childcraft, Volume 1, The Poems of Early Childhood (1954)

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Girls can make some real hay in the “I Know/There Was an Old Lady/Woman” songs

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
Traditional Words and Tune
Illustrated and designed by Jeremy Holmes
(This version is sooooooooo cool!  The old lady’s eyes shut when you turn the last page)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZlj_Yszp3U

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wise old owl w chords eleg sbwe
Wise Old Owl Song Sheet with Chords for Sing Books with Emily
Traditional Words and Tune Adapted by ELEG for SBWE
Page Coordinated by ELEG for SBWE

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Lists I’ve been able to assemble of the illustrated musical works of specific male singers, writers, authors, composers

There are so many of these, that I’ll point you to the link which houses them all
Singable Picture Book Lists for Special Occasions & Interests
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/song-book-lists-for-all-occasions/

It doesn’t take much to notice that there are a lot more men doing writing lryic, composing music, and creating illustrations than there are women doing the same work.

I wonder why?

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Genders Specified in Illustrations (though not in lyrics)

Note:  There’s also the subject of genders depicted in the illustrations.  I’ve tried to only include songs in here in which the main character, as expressed by the lyrics, is one gender or the other.  Often, even if the song does not specify a gender for the protagonist, the illustrator will create one.  This isn’t a bad thing, since creating a character gives the kid reading the book a person to relate to.  The problem here, like with the lyrics, is that the protagonist in the illustrations is a male character much more often than a female character.

Here are a couple books in which the lyrics do not specify gender of the storyteller, but the girl gets a starring roll in the illustrations:

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At least in the illustrations of this book, the girl is the main character, and, it is written by two women!
amoeba hop
Amoeba Hop
Words and Music by Christine Lavin
Illustrated by Betsy Franco Feeney

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I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
Words and Music by John Rox
Illustrations by Bruce Whatley

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Related Posts

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Illustrated Songs in Emily’s Sing Books Repertoire that have Female Protagonists
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/illustrated-songs-in-emilys-sing-books-repertoire-with-female-protagonists/

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Illustrated Songs in Emily’s Sing Books Repertoire that have Male Progagonists
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/illustrated-songs-in-emilys-sing-books-repertoire-with-male-progagonists/

 

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