Behind the Song: Jesus Loves the Little Children

After Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves the Little Children is one of the first songs children learn in Sunday School.

The song was written by Clarence Herbert Woolston. He was born in 1856 and died in 1927.

Jesus loves the little children...all the children of the world

Jesus loves the little children…all the children of the world

The lyrics are inspired by Jesus words in Matthew 19:14, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Some versions alter Woolston’s version to have “red, brown and yellow, black and white.”

The tune is to a 1864 Civil War tune by George Fredrick Root known as “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!” This song was written from a prisoner’s point of view to give hope to the Union Prisoners of War. The tune was also later used for “God Save Ireland.

                                                  There are also some alternate lyrics to the song:

                                       Jesus loves the little children,

...red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight...Jesus loves the little children of the world

…red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight…Jesus loves the little children of the world


All the children of the world.
Fat and skinny, short and tall,
Jesus loves them one and all,

OR

Jesus died for all the children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in his sight,
Jesus died for all the children of the world.