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LEAH WELLS, a preschool music specialist, is the author of the How Do You Do Music Series™ Books for children, published by HelioTot, an imprint of Heliotrope Books LLC. Her memoir, ON ANOTHER NOTE: Making Music at Head Start (A Memoir with Classroom Exercises), was published in January 2016 by Heliotrope Books. Read the Press Release here.
Read a sample of ON ANOTHER NOTE HERE.
PRAISE FOR ON ANOTHER NOTE
“The exercises … illustrate for all readers how Leah Wells improvised her classes, adapted to structured classroom schedules, and overcame myriad administrative obstacles in order to create fulfilling hours of music and movement for her students. But the exercises are also utilitarian. Teachers needing prompts or ideas for engaging the wildfire energy of overpopulated classrooms will find a trove here. All other readers will find a deeply moving, humane, compassionate narrator whose wit, insights, details, ear for language, and love for the arts enrich the book’s pages.” —M.J. Moore, in a pre-publication review Neworld Review
HOW DO YOU DO MUSIC™ BOOKS
PRAISE FOR THE HOW DO YOU DO MUSIC™ BOOKS
"These great books provide an engaging tool for parents, caregivers, and teachers to connect music, words, and pictures for their beginning and pre-readers ... " —Marilyn Panton, Storywraps
"How do you teach the elements of music to small children? Teacher/author Leah Wells chooses to use the power of story to do that job in a whimsical, sure-footed manner. ... Music teachers and music-loving parents will want to seek out this fresh new child-friendly paperback series." —Janice Floyd Durante, Books of Wonder and Wisdom
A SONG FOR THE BIRDS:
"With whimsical, almost retro-looking sketches, Naomi Rosenblatt's artwork adds to the gentle fun of this note-learning paperback tale. … Well-done, lighthearted and fun, Leah Wells' sing-songy tale works beautifully." —Lee Littlewood, Kids' Home Library (Creators Syndicate)
"This charming book is a delightful way to introduce reading music to young children. ... The illustrations orchestrate the power and magic of music for the reader to behold." —Marilyn Panton, Storywraps
THE RAINBOW REMEMBERS THE MUSIC:
"This fun, inspirational and educational book acquaints the readers with elements of music. A wonderful addition includes 22 pages of enlarged staff paper to use. What a brilliant idea!" —Marilyn Panton, Storywraps
A 2015 Family Choice Award Winner (Children & Parenting)
Heliotrope Books to Publish Second Title in Children’s How Do You Do Music™ Series —The Rainbow Remembers The Music
Sisters Leah Wells and Naomi Rosenblatt Again Team Up for the Next Installment in Their Unique Music Story Series for Early Readers.
[NEW YORK CITY] Heliotrope Books has announced the February 26, 2015 publication of the next book in its new How Do You Do Music™ series under the HelioTot imprint: The Rainbow Remembers the Music by Leah Wells, illustrated by Naomi Rosenblatt (ISBN 978-0990401254). Advance e-galleys are available for publishing professionals through the Edelweiss platform.
The books in the series introduce preschoolers and beginning readers to music through stories and pictures. In A Song for the Birds (2014), the inaugural How Do You Do Music™ book, individual notes, as sung by a variety of birds, comprise the notes on a treble clef, all coming together to create a melody. Whimsical illustrations bring the birds and their music delightfully alive.
The Rainbow Remembers The Music continues to reinforce the concept of notes on a staff with the addition of the bass clef and middle C. The story and drawings depict The Birdwatcher, the concert-master from the first story, and his two grandchildren, as they watch a rainbow serve as “sheet music in the sky” to guide the birds in an aerial choir. But what happens when the rainbow disappears? How can the birds (and the children hearing the story) remember the notes so they can continue to sing?
To enable early and pre-readers to try their hand at writing their own music, the book includes “child-sized” staff paper. Author Leah Wells, who has taught music to preschoolers for more than 15 years, discovered that ordinary staff paper did not accommodate the creative impulses of her budding composers, so she “blew up” normal staff paper for her young students to use. That sparked her to work with her sister, the book’s publisher and illustrator, Naomi Rosenblatt, to include specially-sized paper right in the book.
How Do You Do Music™ books provide an engaging tool for parents, caregivers, and teachers to connect music, words, and pictures for their beginning and pre- readers—and are believed to be the first to include musical notation as elements of the story. Future titles in the How Do You Do Music™ series are scheduled to be released every 2-4 months and will focus on a variety of musical concepts, including kinds of notes, key signatures, accidentals, and scale building.
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Heliotrope Books Launches HelioTot Imprint with A Song for the Birds
First Title in the How Do You Do Music™ Series
Sisters Leah Wells and Naomi Rosenblatt Team Up to Write, Illustrate, and Publish Unique Music Story Books for Early Readers
[NEW YORK] Heliotrope Books has just announced its new imprint for children, HelioTot. The August publication of HelioTot’s A Song for the Birds by Leah Wells, illustrated by Naomi Rosenblatt, also heralds the launch of the How Do You Do Music™ series, designed to introduce pre-schoolers and beginning readers to music through stories and pictures.
A Song for the Birds portrays notes on the treble clef as the unique vocalizations of individual birds who sing their own notes (C for the Canary, D for the Duck, and so on)—but then, under the direction of “The Birdwatcher,” the various birds join together to create a whole song, using all of their notes, not just one. Whimsical illustrations bring the birds and their music delightfully alive.
The How Do You Do Music™ books will provide an engaging tool for parents, caregivers, and teachers to connect music, words, and pictures for their beginning and pre- readers. “When I presented A Song for the Birds at the New York Public Library’s Story Time, I was thrilled to hear the whole room sing the notes back to me, so I know how much fun a parent can have reading these to their own children and having them sing along, too,” said Leah Wells.
Leah's sister Naomi Rosenblatt, the book's illustrator and publisher, said, “While there are many good illustrated songbooks for children, the How Do You Do Music™ books are the first we know of to include musical notation as part of a story."
Future titles in the How Do You Do Music™ series are scheduled to be released every 2-4 months and will focus on a variety of musical concepts, including the treble and bass clefs, the different kinds of notes, key signatures, and scale building:
• How the Rainbow Remembers the Notes continues to reinforce the placements of notes on the staff with the addition of the bass clef and accidentals.
• In The Sad Piano a lonely boy in a new house changes his melancholy tune as he meets new playmates and band members.
• The Major and Minor Ghosts: When Dad fixes the broken boards on the haunted stairway, the major ghost takes charge of the minor ghost’s domain.
• Furry Footnotes takes a child tracking wild animals by the rhythm of markings left in the snow. This book teaches different valued notes: whole, half, quarter, eighth and sixteenth.
• Crumbs on Drums explores key signatures with a silly who-done-it.
• When Melody Goes to the Doctor is a prescription for laughs with musical puns and jokes; open wide and say “A.”
• Allegro, Andante, Adagio … Conductor Don’s Baton teaches the markings of scored orchestral music as Conductor Don leaves his rehearsal and stops to conduct everything on his way home, from traffic horns to alley cats and finally his own children practicing their instruments.
The How Do You Do Music™ books came about because musician-educator Leah Wells, who has taught music to children for more than 15 years, had been using “storybooks” she created herself to help students understand their lessons and give their practicing a little flavor. The booklets were such a hit with her students and their parents that Leah approached her sister, Naomi Rosenblatt, president of New York’s Heliotrope Books, to help get them published. As it turned out, Naomi was not only the right publisher for the books, she was also the right illustrator for them, too. “My sister has always been a talented graphic artist,” says Leah, “and when I saw her drawings of the singing birds for the first book, I knew we were going to make a great team!”
Naomi points out that the How Do You Do Music™ books are not the sisters’ first collaboration: “We initially worked together when I was six and Leah was three. We ‘self-published’ (with the help of our mother!) The Buffalo Bill Songbook.” Leah wrote the songs and Naomi illustrated. “Not much has changed,” Leah adds.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR:
Author Leah Wells, a veteran children’s music educator and performing musician (vocals, guitar, piano, mandolin, and more), developed her “Song Note Stories” while teaching music to preschoolers and school-age early readers, including a number of classes with Head Start. She is also the co-author of Games That Sing: 25 Activities to Keep Children on Their Toes (2011, Heritage Music Press). She is now at work on a memoir of her experiences teaching music at Head Start.
Illustrator Naomi Rosenblatt, Leah’s sister, is a publisher, whose Heliotrope Books specializes in unique projects with a creative flair. Naomi is also an accomplished artist whose clients in publishing include Scholastic, Sesame Workshop, Random House, and Simon & Schuster. She is the author of Rainforests for Beginners, and the illustrator of numerous other books in the For Beginners documentary comics series.