The library at Jefferson Elementary School was packed with excited kindergartners and first-graders as they waited for folk singer-songwriter Dennis Warner to start his first song.
“Inch by inch, row. Gonna make this garden grow.” he sang as the children chimed in.
Warner, author of the children’s book and song “Beads on One String,” entertained all of the kids and staff at Jefferson on Friday. Finally, after several songs including one about his best friend’s biscuits, Warner got up and started to read “Beads on One String” to the youngsters, most of which already knew and loved the book and song.
“Do you know why the people here are in silhouette,” he asked pointing to the first page as it was projected onto a SMART board. “It’s so we don’t see their skin colors.”
Last week, Warner performed two concerts at Jefferson, and another at the Hi-Liner Activity Center for families. He tours throughout the United States giving family concerts and concerts for children where he talks about tolerance and peace.
Warner wrote the song “Beads on One String” to teach children that people are “more alike than we are different.” They laugh, they cry, they eat and they bleed when they’re cut. Later, he put his lyrics in the form of a book that was illustrated by Allison Love Unzelman. The book has been used in schools all over the country for their anti-bullying and tolerance programs.
The book “Beads on One String” features a string of beads that embellishes the entire book. None of the beads are alike, yet they are still beads and still alike.
Warner started singing for children and families in the mid-1980s when a friend asked him to perform at a library function. One show turned into many as other organizations learned about the entertainer.
Later, Warner, who hails from Clearwater, Minn., was asked to author an anti-bullying curriculum for St. Cloud State University to use in schools.
“Kids weren’t born hating. They’re taught to hate,” he said.
Warner’s book “Beads on One String” can be purchased on his website www.beadsononestring.net . Warner’s concert schedule is also on the website.