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Read additional writings by Barry or hear some unreleased songs by clicking on the links below.

Barry's First Story, Age 8

Chubby's Letter

Instructor Magazine article

On Fame and Juno

On Censorship

An Eventual Obituary

Eating The Cat


About the New Recordings

Sheldon Biber

Gene Weingarten's Challenge

Old McDonald Had A Farm

I Ought To Know Jack

I Am a Cookie

Sage Advice

Finding Contentment: The Zooglobble Interview

Tireless Efforts

Talkin Trash

Ebb and Flow on the Chesapeake Bay

A Worthy Project

Barry's Passover Haggadah

Rosh Hoshona service

Retelling Genesis

Other Links

On Fame and Juno

I began writing songs for children in 1975 and recording them on my own "people before profit" label. Over the last thirty-five years, I've worked steadily as a visiting author and songwriter, sharing my love of books, poetry and song in schools and libraries from Fairbanks, Alaska to Washington, DC.

I have almost 350,000 books and recordings in print and until recently, I thought that was impressive. One of the songs on my second album--from 1977--was chosen to be the opening song in the movie Juno and the soundtrack to that film sold over a million copies and won a Grammy Award.

People consider having my song in Juno to be the pinnacle of success and it sure has brought me a lot of attention, but I measure my success differently: I get emails and letters from adults writing to tell me what it was like discovering my books and music in their local library when they were growing up--and how hearing the things I sang about opened a window for them and allowed them to look at the world in a different way.

Recent articles and reviews have described me as keeping a low profile in the last few years but I've actually been touring and performing as much as ever--its just that I don't usually get a lot of media attention working in the schools. That of course changed with Juno.

I've made a great living as a writer these last thirty-five years--and people are still more important to me than profit. When I meet kids in my school visits, they always ask me if I am rich and I always say "yes" because I love what I do. True wealth has more to do with being happy and content; to be able to create and write something that touches someone profoundly yields a wealth that is immeasurable.

I am thrilled that people are learning to play my songs. I am thrilled that people are singing my songs at their weddings and I am thrilled that so many people want to record and perform my music. I was happy and content back in 1975 just to be doing what I loved to do. I am thrilled that my work is finding an even bigger audience now and am humbled and grateful for that.

After my song appeared in Juno, I started getting emails and letters about how often my song was being played around the world. It's an amazing feeling to be able to write a song that resonates that way with people. Especially amazing considering the way it happened; the director of Juno was actually searching iTunes for another song with a similar title when he typed in the words to my song by accident. Also amazing because that song was filler on my second album. I only put it on the album when I didn't have enough songs. I never expected that 30 years later it would be discovered on something called iTunes and used in a Grammy Award winning record album . . . There's some karmic fate that is controlling that music far more than I ever could.

People ask me if having my song in the film would have changed me if it had happened earlier in my career and I don't think it would have. Like the best things in life, fame is fleeting. It's been a great ride--and continues to be, but I don't define myself by that.

There's a great poem about the difference between being famous and being known and how it's probably better to be known by people who really have a sense of who you are than being famous worldwide and not having anybody really know anything about what you're about.

Barry Louis Polisar
March, 2008