Songs in the Shade of the Cashew and Coconut Trees

Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes from West Africa and the Caribbean

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Songs collected by Nathalie Soussana Musical arrangements Jean-Christophe Hoarau Illustrations Judith Gueyfier

An enchanting collection of 12 traditional songs that pays homage to the rich cultural heritage and multilingual communities of West Africa and the Caribbean. Stories about children playing in the schoolyard at recess, sisters braiding each other’s hair at the beach, and parents dancing and singing late into the night mesh together thanks to the music. A wide array of styles—nursery rhymes from Gabon, lullabies from Cape Verde, rumbas from the Congo, work songs from Jamaica—are all performed exquisitely by men, women, and children in more than thirteen languages. Luminous artwork and homegrown instruments, such as the djembe, cavaquinho and Peul flute, round off this wonderful celebration of history, language, and culture. 

Lyrics appear transcribed in their original language and translated to English, followed by extensive notes describing the cultural background of each song and a world map. A free teaching guide and activity sheets are available here.


“Songs in the Shade of the Cashew and Coconut Trees” will please everyone from small children to folklore scholars to world music enthusiasts – a gem of a book. MONTREAL REVIEW OF BOOKS

Readers will dance in their dreams. CHILDREN’S BOOKWATCH

Pub Date: 2023
Ages: 3 to 7 / Grades Pre-K to 3
Keywords: Africa / Musical Traditions / Maternity / Community

Nathalie Soussana is the author of several musical picture books, including Songs from the Vanilla Trail and Parents’ Choice Gold Award-winner Songs from the Garden of Eden. She’s also written several musicals, including À l’ombre de l’olivier, Romances de Paris, and Silence on tourne.

Jean-Christophe Hoarau is a guitarist by training, who toured for 10 years with the Jeunesses Musicales de France. As an arranger and composer, he is an 11-time recipient of the prestigious Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros award, as well as a Disque d'or. He has produced several musical picture books for children, including Songs from the Vanilla Trail and Songs from the Garden of Eden.

Judith Gueyfier started creating picture books after studying design at the Duperré School and illustration at the Arts Déco School. She has published with several well-established houses in France, with recent publications that include Tu habites où? and The Hunt for the Golden Glasses.



Hardcover illustrated picture book (9.5” x 9.5”, 36 pages) with 12 songs (23 minutes) available via QR code.

ISBN 978‐2‐89836-044-2
$19.95 CAD / $16.95 USD


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