The Children’s Songbook is the official songbook for Primary children in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was introduced in 1989 and pleased the membership of the Church with its pastel-colored illustrations throughout the pages. The Sing with Me songbook preceded it.
The Ensign magazine published an article about the new songbook:
- According to Betty Jo Jepsen, [then] first counselor in the Primary General Presidency, the task was undertaken “to consolidate the various existing resources of children’s music.” Those resources included Sing with Me, More Songs for Children, Supplement to More Songs for Children, Activity Songs and Verses, songs published in the Friend and the Ensign, and songs used in the Primary’s annual children’s sacrament meeting presentations.
- These music resources were reviewed, edited, and compiled—with a new twist. “In the past, songbooks have been published mostly for Primary leaders to use in teaching children,” says Pat Graham, a former member of the Primary General Board. “Although Primary music leaders and accompanists will continue to teach from this new resource, this book really is for the children.”
- “We want people to use it at home,” says Stan Thurman, the songbook’s designer. Sister Jepsen agrees: “The book is not just for the Primary, but for the home and family as well. I think it is essential that parents know the music their children are learning in Primary and then reinforce it at home.”
Choosing material for the new songbook was a large task. A total of 386 songs were considered. The selection committee used a survey conducted earlier by the Church’s Research and Evaluation Committee. The survey had been sent to countries throughout the world, asking Primary leaders to evaluate existing resources. Leaders were instructed to list their Primary’s favorite songs. They were also asked to comment on the familiarity of Primary songs to their children and the frequency with which they were sung.
- A total of 268 songs were decided upon, 17 of them new. Songs were then arranged into an order that, says Sister Graham, “unfolds a story or expresses our beliefs in a logical fashion.”
Songs were ordered under the section titles "My Heavenly Father," "The Savior," "The Gospel," "Home and Family," "Heritage," "Nature and Seasons," and "Fun and Activity." The concluding section contains prelude music.
Michael F. Moody, then chairman of the Church Music Committee, worked with the Primary general presidency and the board to complete the project.
- It would be impossible to compute the hours that have gone into the creation of Children’s Songbook. Musicians, editors, illustrators, graphic designers, committee and board members—many of them serving on a volunteer basis—have worked hard on the project. It has been a labor of love.
A New Songbook
In June 2018, the Church announced a new hymnbook and a new children’s songbook: a global hymnbook, with each language having the same hymns in the same order. Elder Ronald A. Rasband said “We desire to offer a consistent core collection of hymns and songs in every language that reflects the diverse needs of the global Church in our day.” Members of the Church around the world were invited to recommend feedback on the future editions and submit new hymns and children’s songs.
Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr. said, “Perhaps the most meaningful hymns and songs of the Restoration have not yet been written. We encourage our talented members to prayerfully consider what they might add to the body of music already known and loved by the Church.”
The deadline for submissions was July 1, 2019.