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|Sing a song : how "Lift Every Voice and Sing" inspired generations|
Author: Lyons, Kelly Starling
Illustrations and easy-to-read text follow a family through five generations as each is inspired by the song written in 1900 to honor Abraham Lincoln. Includes author's note on the history of the song and its meaning in her family.
Kirkus Reviews (07/01/19)
School Library Journal (08/09/19)
Booklist (+) (08/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/07/19)
The Hornbook (00/09/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2019 *Starred Review* In 1900, a girl learned a hymn written by her school principal, James Weldon Johnson, and she sang it as part of a 500-member choir: “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” She later sang it to her husband as they moved from Florida to Pennsylvania, since “it was a part of her she wanted to pass on.” Later, she shared it with her son through the years. Growing up, he sang it in choirs, when facing discrimination as a soldier returning from WWII, and after becoming a father. Tracing the history of Black Americans since 1900 through five generations of one family, this creative book also connects events and cultural shifts with particular lines in the song, underscoring their relevance during certain times, ending with the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. With clarity and warmth, the illustrations sensitively capture the changing characters, emotions, and eras as time passes. This well-structured, original story will resonate most intensely with readers and listeners who are familiar with this stirring hymn, but others will sense its power as well. Dovetailing nicely with the books that introduce the song itself, this moving picture book celebrates it as a “symbol of faith, brilliance, resistance, and resilience.” - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/09/2019 K-Gr 3-A spirited, stunningly illustrated picture book that expresses the historical significance of James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson's hymn, which was written in honor of Abraham Lincoln. Lyons imagines a young girl in 1900 and her first encounter with the hymn and her desire to sing it with her "back straight, head high, heart and mouth open." The narrative follows the girl as she grows and teaches it to her son. With each passing generation, the song continues to inspire pride, hope, and faith for African Americans across the nation. The final pages depict the singing of the hymn at the 2016 dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. An extended author's note discusses how the song represents Lyon's family heritage and her desire that this hymn remain a message of hope for future generations. Mallett's digitally enhanced drawings weave through generations of historical events with vibrant color and bright light, beautifully depicting the faces of those moved by this song that has come to be known as the Black National Anthem. VERDICT Lovely illustrations and a fresh look at the historical significance of the hymn add a new dimension that will inspire as well as inform young readers.-Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.