I wrote this music–and now this book–to remind parents and children about some of the truly amazing people this country has produced.
As we've been confronted by war, terrorism, class struggles, and political divides, I worry that our perception of ourselves has become more about our challenges than our victories. So I set out to write music that says, "this is who we really are." I hope it will inspire kids to reach for the better parts of themselves. A nation is only as good as its heroes, and we truly need more.
If you're a kid reading this: remember that at one time Abraham Lincoln, Jackie Robinson, and the Beatles were kids too. They were dreamers, writers, painters, science geeks, and athletes.
A lot of the work they did as grown-ups had roots in the dreams they had as kids. So keep dreaming! Dream out loud! Start now!
To my little heroines, Ella and Sofi–EP For Alonzo, my little hero–AP
TRACKS 2 & 3
Nellie Bly completed a trip around the world in seventy-two days—a new world record at the time!
Nellie Bly was one of the first female journalists to go undercover to research a story.
One of her most famous stories helped lead to better conditions at hospitals.
Nellie Bly was the pen name for Elizabeth Jane Cochrane.
The world could be yours if you try, if you try
Nellie Bly was just a girl, born into a world
where little girls barely mattered
Even women couldn't vote
Their jobs just left them broke
Sewing clothes and stirring batter
Nellie didn't think it was right
She took up a pen to fight for women's rights
And she told the whole world
what it's all about
Nellie Bly, she was sly, she was like a private eye
She went undercover into a women's mental ward
Her pen was like a sword
She played sick to be among the others
The patients weren't being treated right
She stayed there ten long days and nights
Then she told the whole world
what it's all about!
Nellie Bly was just a girl in a race around the world
Taking trains and ships on steam power
She sailed the China sea with her pet monkey
Meeting kings and getting flowers
Arabia, Hong Kong, Singapore
In seventy-two days she was on American shores
Telling the whole ... wide ... world
what it's all about!
TRACKS 4 & 5
Strawberry, chocolate, vanilla ice cream
Old Augustus Jackson's got an ice cream machine
He puts in a little flavor, sugar, and ice
Then he mixes it with salt and cream
It tastes real nice
Augustus Jackson was a free black man
A chef at the White House for the Madisons
He came to Philadelphia when they set him free
He started making ice cream on Goodwater Street
And the people came
Calling out his flavors by name
Augustus Jackson invented a way
to make his ice cream last for days and days
He built his empire up from the ground
by shipping ice cream in tins all over town
No matter what flavor you are
you can fill up a spoon at Jackson's ice cream bar
Augustus Jackson was once a cook at the White House for President James Madison.
TRACKS 6 & 7
HIS MOST FAMOUS SONG, "THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND," IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SONGS OF THE 20TH CENTURY
WOODY GUTHRIE SOMETIMES TRAVELED AROUND THE COUNTRY BY JUMPING ON FREIGHT TRAINS.