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by Hallee Adelman

During quarantine, we’ve seen people connect and celebrate using song. Neighbors harmonize from their windows for front line workers. Friends croon from cars for drive-by birthdays. Families play “Name that Tune” via Zoom.

It’s no wonder; singing happens to release stress. As a former teacher, I often sang with students before tests or to reinforce tough topics. According to Julia Layton of How Stuff Works, singing lets out endorphins that help people feel good. When an individual sings in front of others, there is often an added benefit: improved confidence.

So what does all this singing have to do with books? More and more, picture book and other authors are writing Book Songs for students that accompany their printed work. Megan & Jorge Lacera worked with Annie Birdd Music for their super-fun Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies song, Dawn Prochovnic wrote lyrics for Where Does a Pirate Go Potty?, Kwame Alexander shared “Kwame & Randy’s” MixTape 52, and Josh Funk created catchy tunes for his Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast books. I’ve also written songs related to my picture book My Quiet Ship, and also my latest Albert Whitman book, Way Past Mad. I felt lucky to record these songs with Leo Gade and Elizabeth Christman, amazing student singers from the Philly Boys and Girls Choirs.

I began using the instrumentals of my Book Songs as intros for a “Stuck at Home” video series that I started during quarantine to inspire kids/classrooms to create and connect in simple ways. In Video #7, the 76ers Sixth Man, a Philadelphia super fan, shared his idea: write and sing a song for someone you love.

EUREKA! That video led to a fun collaboration: the 76ers Sixth Man and Way Past Books are now kicking off the first annual Book Song Challenge!

With the school year coming to an end, our students, teachers and librarians have not only read a lot of books, but have also been under a lot of stress (#understatement).

For the contest, students are challenged to create their own Book Song about their favorite book this year. Hopefully, kids can feel good and confident as we celebrate books AND the end of the year for our hard-working students, teachers, and librarians.

Three winners will receive a $76 book gift card for themselves and a $1000 book gift card that will be sent to their school or library. These gift cards will be fulfilled by awesome indie bookseller, Children’s Book World.

As an author who writes small books about big feelings, it’s hard not to consider how kids and school professionals are feeling right now. I’m looking forward to piloting this challenge this year with the 76ers Sixth Man and growing it together as a community where we can share books, book songs, and celebrate the most important thing we have: our future.


Hallee Adelman is the author of My Quiet Ship (2018), Way Past Mad (2020), Way Past Worried (coming Fall 2020), and two additional Way Past titles (2021). With a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Learning Technologies, Adelman has taught university and elementary students, having been nominated for the Disney Teacher of the Year Award on multiple occasions. She loves sharing writing tips with educators, children, teens and writers. She is married with two children and two dogs. Random facts: Adelman also produces documentary films. She keeps sour gummies in her desk drawer. She is currently engineering a giant leprechaun trap thanks to Tara Lazar’s most recent book!

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My Picture Books

COMING SOON:

BLOOP
illus by Mike Boldt
HarperCollins
July 2021

ABSURD WORDS
illustrator TBA
Sourcebooks eXplore
November 2021

"PRIVATE I" SERIES #3
illus by Ross MacDonald
Little, Brown
2022

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