Ella Jenkins

With Wade Goodwyn in for Tom Ashbrook.

Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Ella Jenkins on 50 years of making music for children.

Ella Jenkins performs in a special concert, Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History. (Smithsonian Institution)

Ella Jenkins performs in a special concert, Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History. (Smithsonian Institution)

For more than 50 years Ella Jenkins has been writing and recording music for America’s children.  The Grammy award winning singer is called The First Lady of Children’s Music and her fame is such that she’s acted as a U.S. delegate to Hong Kong, The People’s Republic of China and what was once the Soviet Union. Next week she’ll turn 88 and she’s still performing and recording with gusto.

This hour, On Point: Ella Jenkins and a life making music for children.

-Wade Goodwyn


Ella Jenkins, an American folk singer, dubbed “The First Lady of the Children’s Folk Song.” Her latest album is “A Life of Song.”

Justin Roberts, family music indie pop singer-songwriter. He plays with his band the Not Ready for Naptime Players.

Video: “I Know a City Called Okeechobee”

Check out this video of Ella Jenkins singing “I Know a City Called Okeechobee.”



“He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” (A Life of Song, 2011)

“Pick A Bale Of Cotton” (A Life of Song, 2011)

“Milk Cow Blues” (LIVE) (A Life of Song, 2011)

“An American Chain Gang Chant” (Call & Response, 1957)


“Mary Had a Little Lamb” (Early Early Childhood Songs, 1996)

“Little Sally Walker” (A Life of Song, 2011)

“An Arabic Chant That Means Welcome” (Call & Response, 1957)

“Miss Mary Mack” (LIVE)

“The World is Big the World is Small” (Multicultural Children’s Songs, 1995)


“Muffin Man” (Songs Children Love to Sing, 1996)

“Pop Fly” by Justin Roberts (Pop Fly, 2008)

“Black Royalty” (A Life of Song, 2011)

“Sing Me A Song Again, Ella” (cELLAbration, 2004) Performed by the University Park Children’s Ensemble

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