A Life of Song: The Story of Ella Jenkins


Discover the untold story of Ella Jenkins, the First Lady of Children's Music. While many know her from Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, few realize that her groundbreaking career in children's music was rooted in the fight for equality.

A young girl in a segregated Chicago, Ella found her passion for music early on, believing in its potential to bring people together. This biography follows Ella’s trailblazing career from her early life influenced by jazz greats like Cab Calloway to her cross-country tours. Ella brought global sounds and stories to homes and classrooms everywhere and united people at a time of division. A Life of Song: The Story of Ella Jenkins tells the extraordinary story of a woman who has fearlessly crossed boundaries to share music and use it as a tool to fight racism. It's a story that asks readers of all ages, “will YOU sing a song together?”

For ages 6+ 
36 pages
ISBN: 9781737240433
Hardcover, 9” x 11”, full color illustrations


Meet the Author

Ty-Juana Taylor is an endless learner. Born and raised in the small town of Smiths Grove, Kentucky, Ty-Juana received her Masters Degree in Social Welfare and a PhD. in ethnomusicology from UCLA. While always hungry for knowledge, she thinks of herself as being more than just a scholar. Ty-Juana understands the value of community, the power of advocacy, and the importance of valuing the marginalized. She is a proponent of "Because of them, we can" and that echoes in all of her work. Ty-Juana believes it is essential that she uplifts the voices and stories of people of color and the marginalized in all that she does as an educator, advocate, and therapist.

Meet the Illustrator

Jade Johnson is a New Orleans based illustrator. After receiving her BFA in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design, she taught visual arts in non-profit arts education programs until hanging up her apron in 2021. Her work has been recognized by Creative Quarterly, Applied Arts, and the Society of Illustrators.

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews

This is a great book about the Ella Jenkins. Thank you for writing it!

Rasha Hamid
Everything I hoped for!

Beautifully illustrated, informative story of the life of Ella Jenkins, children’s musician extraordinaire. We love Ella’s songs at my school and we’re so glad to have this book to learn more about Ella as a person.

Great book!

This book is so great. I am an elementary music teacher, and I am reading this book with my students. It’s an approachable and meaningful story about how Ella Jenkins became the musician she is. It has also sparked many discussions about musical influences, racial segregation, and the ability of music to connect people. I highly recommend this book.

Myrna Glikman
A Special Lady

Having taught in the “inner city” of Chicago; I actually experienced Ella Jenkins at my school through the Urban Gateways program. The book gave me new and lovely insights into this amazing woman. Her music is definitely something to be shared and treasured as is her story.

Dr. Siyu Cai
Beyond the human experience

This is one of the best books I've ever read. There's not enough stars here.