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CHANGE SINGS by Amanda Gorman Kirkus Star


A Children's Anthem

by Amanda Gorman ; illustrated by Loren Long

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-20322-4
Publisher: Viking

Great expectations of wordsmith Gorman are not disappointed in this “children’s anthem” to change.

In rhyming verses, a first-person narrator sings along, telling readers, “I can hear change coming / In its loudest, proudest song.” The poem does become a kind of song, as the child, a Black girl with glowing brown skin and textured hair, carries a guitar. As she joins with others, she hands them instruments, and together they change the world in large and small ways—delivering groceries and meals, cleaning up outdoor spaces, and making literal and figurative music with their deeds and their instruments. Long’s illustrations offer an interpretation of the anthem that expands upon the text and becomes its own rhythmic story. A quiet opening and a stunning second spread one could gaze at for days are followed by spreads that alternate between white space and full color, climaxing with a crescendo and then ending on a soft, steady note, when the narrator looks out to readers, offering them an invitation to carry the song on into the world. In rich language and vivid art, this hopeful celebration of the life-affirming power of change to ripple out into a better future is irresistible. Text and poetry work together to regulate a careful reading of this beautiful work. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

One to keep, to read, and to reread.

(Picture book. 4-8)