Kindergarten Books > Zena’s Band

Zena’s Band

Text: Alaa Hlehel | Illustrations: Amer Shomali

Through the humorous hero of this book, Zena, children explore the language of music and are encouraged to notice the diverse sounds of their immediate surroundings, from music and song, to animal calls and the sounds of their own bodies.

Family Activities

The child hears different sounds when they are in their mother’s womb: the mother’s voice, the sound of her heartbeat, the voices of people who are close by, and the sounds of music, which a child can recognize after their birth if they hear them repeatedly.


Dear Parents,

The child is born into a world teeming with uninterrupted sounds, such as the voices of people, the sounds of machines we have at home, and the voices of nature and its creatures.

The sounds that a child hears differ in their type, pitch, rhythm, volume, and tempo. The child’s little ears pick up the sounds around them with more interest than ours, which filter these sounds, so we no longer notice their existence.

Distinguishing a certain sound depends on our ability to hear it. Here, our role as parents is to draw our children’s attention to the sounds that surround them, like the chirping of birds, the sounds a passing truck makes, or the sound of the waterstream in the sink at home. We should also expose them to different kinds of rhythms and music and to musical instruments. This ability to listen and recognize sounds at an early age is very important for language learning.


Family Activities

  • The first time we read the book, we can stop on the last page (16) and encourage our child to guess the source of the sound.
  • We can take a tour around the house, and listen to the sounds emanating from each room, and try to define it: is it a rattle, a tick, or a buzz? We can also listen to the voices outside: How do the sounds coming from outside differ from the ones inside?
  • We can look for objects at home with which we can make different sounds such as kitchen utensils, nylon bags, newspapers, and others. We can try to make sounds with the same object: does the sound of a pot differ, for example, if we knock on it with a wooden spoon or a metal spoon, if it is full of objects or empty?
  • We may search with our child for other items in our near environment that complement the song of Zena, such as: brrring, brrring/…it rings. We may add new sounds that match the objects we find, and form a choir like Zena’s!
  • Our bodies are a great source of music! We can explore the sounds that we can make with our bodies, such as applauding, whistling, thumping feet, and others.
  • We may wish to prepare with our child simple musical instruments from household items. Here are some of the ideas:
  • We surround a small box of milk with a number of bands of different thickness, so we get a nice stringed instrument.
  • We can use rice or fava beans and chickpeas to make sounds from sealed cardboard cylinders.
  • We may wish to listen together with our family to calm melodies, or dance and sing together to the rhythm of fun and loud music!
  • Enjoy your reading!

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