While not a comprehensive treatment of Seeger’s life, this is an excellent introduction; read and sing along—loudly.

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STAND UP AND SING!

PETE SEEGER, FOLK MUSIC, AND THE PATH TO JUSTICE

In the world of American folk music, Pete Seeger stood tall and proud in his unflinching, lifelong commitment to human rights and dignity.

Reich opens with a typical Seeger sing-along moment and then proceeds to trace his childhood, when his father exposed him to the troubles of the Great Depression. A trip to North Carolina introduced him to the five-string banjo. The following years produce a litany of musical activity, with Alan Lomax, Woody Guthrie, the Almanac Singers, and the Weavers. Then came years of blacklisting and Seeger’s steadfast refusal to accede to Congressional scare tactics. Protests against the Vietnam War, support of the civil rights struggle, and then a commitment to clean up the Hudson River kept his music steadily flowing. He remains a powerful influence on many musicians and left a legacy of children’s songs and protest songs that should be part of everyone’s listening. In his passionate and timely foreword, Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary exhorts readers to follow Seeger's "spirit" and "turn challenge and adversity into greater determination and love for one another." Gustavson’s digitized gouache, watercolor, pencil, and oil paintings offer scenes from Seeger’s life in both full-page color and spot-art accompaniments.

While not a comprehensive treatment of Seeger’s life, this is an excellent introduction; read and sing along—loudly. (author’s note, quotation sources, selected sources) (Picture book/biography. 7-12)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3812-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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