From the shores of East Africa to the isles of the Indian Ocean, Songs on the Vanilla Trail is an enchanting collection of 25 traditional songs that pay homage to the region’s rich cultural heritage. Behind each lullaby and nursery rhyme are stories that celebrate family, community, and daily life, as well as those that speak to the impact of trade, colonization, and slavery. The collection includes songs recorded in more than a dozen languages and dialects from eight nations, including Kenya, Madagascar, and South Africa, and French overseas territories Réunion and Mayotte. To help readers explore the stories behind the songs, lyrics are presented alongside English translations and detailed notes on the origins and history of the song, musicians, language, and instruments. While lyrics like “hakuna matata” and songs like “Frère Jacques” and “Mbube”—popularized as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”—will be familiar to listeners, their origins are less well known. “Mbube” was first written in Zulu by Solomon Linda, leader of The Evening Birds. Despite the song’s widespread success, Linda received little credit. His story, and the effort to restore royalties to his family, has only recently begun to reach global audiences. A free teaching guide for Grades 1-3 is available for download for teachers and parents who wish to engage young readers and listeners with the collection’s music, themes, and illustrations. In addition to definitions, discussion prompts, and exercises, the guide also includes print-out activity sheets that can be shared at home or in the classroom. Subscribe to The Secret Mountain on YouTube for videos to support lessons, playtime, and even naptime. Songs in the Vanilla Trail unfolds across 80 pages of vibrant illustrations by Magali Attiogbé, a France-based artist who hails from Togo. The accompanying album can be listened to on CD or via digital download. The collection is the eighth title in an award-winning series that spans several global cultures and traditions. The most recent publication, Songs in the Shade of the Cashew and Coconut Trees, was awarded a Children’s Africana Book Award in 2020. “Readers are sure to learn new facts about this part of the world while appreciating its mix of global cultures,” says Kirkus Reviews. “The book is beautifully produced on thick, matte paper, and the diversity of musical styles produced is impressive.” Find Songs in the Vanilla Trail on Goodreads, Edelweiss, CataList, and your local bookstore. To order copies, contact www.ipgbook.com. For review copies, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.