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|How sweet the sound : the story of Amazing Grace|
Author: Weatherford, Carole Boston
A picture book biography of the man behind the hymn "Amazing Grace."
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.30
Points: .5 Quiz: 195142
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/18)
School Library Journal (04/01/18)
Booklist (+) (02/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2018 *Starred Review* This song of hope and inspiration had its seeds in a ship’s hold. John Newton, a hardened British sailor, a bitter man, survives storms and near starvation on the slave ship Greyhound. Newly aware of God’s grace, he slowly turns his life around (though not before captaining a slave ship of his own). When his seafaring days are behind him, he becomes a minister and pens the words to “Amazing Grace,” which is eventually put to the melody of a popular song. As Weatherford chronicles, the song has been sung continually ever since: as part of the abolition movement; by the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears; as a twentieth-century protest song; and led by Barack Obama in a Charleston church following a horrendous killing. Weatherford does her own amazing job of telling the story in rhymed couplets that make the events digestible for young readers. Her compact history is juxtaposed against Morrison’s majestic paintings, dramatic spreads that breathe life into both Newton’s story and the history that followed. The afterword closely follows the text, a boon for children wanting more information. The song’s verses and suggestions for further reading and listening complete this fine package. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2018 Gr 3–5—On board the slave ship Greyhound is rough-and-tumble British sailor John Newton, who, caught in a terrible storm and fearing for his life, recalls the events that brought him to this harrowing moment. Upon safely reaching land, Newton devotes himself to God and turns his life around. Later in life, Newton becomes a minister, speaks out against slavery, and pens the now-famous lyrics to "Amazing Grace." From here, Weatherford traces the evolution of the hymn, as it makes its way to North America, finds a tune, continues to grow, and becomes a beacon throughout U.S. history—from a cotton plantation to the Trail of Tears, through the Civil War, the civil rights movement, and on to Barack Obama's presidency. The book then concludes with the lyrics to the song. Written in spare rhyming verse, every word is deliberate, and every line carefully crafted to maintain the meter, resulting in a striking trochaic rhythm that begs to be read aloud, but may also leave young readers that lack historical context confused about the time line of events; an author's note at the back of the book helps to fill in some of the details missing from or merely alluded to in the text. What truly makes the book stand out are Morrison's stunning oil paintings, which vividly bring to life Newton's personal experiences and moments of larger historical importance. Suggestions for further reading, listening, and viewing are also included. VERDICT A richly illustrated, if sparely written, account of the history and legacy of "Amazing Grace" for medium to large collections.—Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Elkins Park, PA - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.