CMSM Launching Community Project with Author & Musician Jim Gill


We are so excited to have partnered with author, musician, and child development specialist Jim Gill to bring the Southern Minnesota community an opportunity to work together and create a piece of art!

On Tuesday, February 21 from 1pm to 2pm, the Museum will host a live VIRTUAL concert to kick off the community project. Jim will share his songs and his unique stylings for all to enjoy. The concert will also feature a read-along and sing-along of one of Jim’s musical books, May There Always Be Sunshine. Jim will share artwork that children from across the country have created based on his book and get everyone excited for our very own “May There Always Be” project……serving everyone in our Southern Minnesota community!

This VIRTUAL concert will “kick off” the project……and it will end with a concert by Jim, LIVE and IN PERSON, at the Museum on Saturday, May 20th.

To learn more about Jim before he joins us, we’ve created a list of all the cool things about him (found on his website) based on his own best-selling book mentioned above.

Jim Gill in Concert


Jim Gill’s songs and musical books are favorites of ours here at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, because Jim calls his creations “music play.” They are musical games that inspire children – and the adults that love and care for them – to join in the fun by actively singing, clapping and dancing along!  Children need to move and play and Jim Gill’s specialty is to create songs that are an invitation to play.

Jim is a child development specialist, having completed his graduate studies in child development at the Erikson Institute of Chicago with a special emphasis on the study of play. In addition to his studies, Jim’s 20 years of experience creating and leading play groups for families with children with special needs has informed his work. Jim led weekly music play programs at numerous therapeutic and family support agencies in the Chicago area. His unique writing style—combining word play and movement opportunities into songs—was inspired by this work.


Both of Jim’s books are award-winners! That’s saying something pretty special. Jim believes caregivers reading with children is one of the best ways to inspire imagination and play. 

"May There Always be Sunshine" by Jim Gill

  1. May There Always Be Sunshine: 2015 Illinois Reads Selection, winner of the 2002 Book Award from the Philadelphia Children’s Museum; Illustrated by Susie Signorino-Richards. This hardcover book, based on a Russian folk song, is a gorgeous celebration of children’s thoughts and ideas. It’s a great morning, afternoon, and bedtime book to read and sing. We will get to hear it during the concert! 
  2. A Soup Opera: 2010 Notable Children’s Book & Recording Award — American Library Association; Illustrated by David Moose. A Soup Opera is a richly illustrated story about a man, a bowl of soup and the man’s operatic and comically frustrating quest to eat it. The book is based on a silly concert piece that Jim performs with symphony orchestras throughout the country. Children and parents will enjoy playfully singing the story together. Classroom teachers and librarians will enjoy the opportunity to dramatize the book with children using the CD recording as accompaniment. It is truly a book to read, sing and play!


Jim has not one, not two, but TEN albums of music available for purchase, as well as an extensive YouTube channel. You can even watch the video about the Community Video Book we’ll be creating together:

Jim has a unique approach to his concerts for young children and families. This is because his graduate studies in child development have convinced him that family play is more important to young children than music alone… whether the music is classical, folk, or rock and roll. Each of Jim’s concerts is an active sing-along and clap-along. He bangs out energetic rhythms on his banjo while everyone claps, jumps, dances, and even sneezes along. The concert is filled, of course, with songs and stories from Jim’s award-winning recordings and books for young children. Jim’s artistry, however, is beyond the music. Jim’s true art is to create a joyful musical experience for children and adults—parents, grandparents and caregivers—together.


Jim Gill is the family engagement specialist. What does that mean? Anyone who has ever attended one of Jim Gill’s concerts knows that rather than performing for the children, parents, and grandparents, he leads them to sing and play together. Each event is more than a show to watch. It is an opportunity for family play!

This unique focus on family play and interaction is what sets him apart from other children’s musicians and authors and reflects his graduate studies in child development. Jim engages the children, parents, and grandparents in joyful, energizing play in order to inspire them to continue the play at home.


Our project will be amazing and the more people who get involved, the more amazing it will be! Join us on February 21st to find out all the details and how you can help. See you then!

Virtual Concert with Jim Gill kickoff at the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota in Mankato

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