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LET FREEDOM SING by Vanessa Newton

LET FREEDOM SING

By Vanessa Newton (Author) , Vanessa Newton (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-934706-90-9
Publisher: Blue Apple

This volume takes the song “This Little Light of Mine” and makes it an extended celebration of the heroes of the Civil Right Movement, from Rosa Parks to Barack Obama, who “let their lights shine.” There is a jump-on-the-bandwagon feel here, with very little new ground covered. Every icon of the movement is illustrated in nostalgic bursts of color: buses, walkers, schools, water fountains, lunch counters, the March on Washington and Barack Obama’s inauguration. The problem is that the illustrations border on stereotypic. Universally jolly, round-faced folk in every shade from light pink to dark brown fill each page. Many illustrations directly reflect familiar iconic photos, but one, the picture of Martin Luther King at the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, is awkwardly off: LBJ, using his left hand, is shaking King’s left hand, in a mirror image of a news photo. The pages move chronologically except for one spread, oddly in the middle of the book, that appears to be modern folks singing in a multiracial tableau. A too-intentionally inspirational muddle. (Picture book. 4-8)