Title: We Shall Overcome
Author: Debbie Levy
Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Publisher: Jump at The Sun Books, 2013
Themes: song, equality, African Americans, slavery, freedom
I’ll be all right,
I’ll be all right,
I’ll be all right some day.
It only takes a few words to create change. It only takes a few people to believe that change is possible. And when those people sing out, they can change the world. “We Shall Overcome” is one of their songs. From the song’s roots in America’s era of slavery through to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and today, “We Shall Overcome” has come to represent the fight for equality and freedom around the world.
Why I like this book:
Music is a strong, emotional bond for most people and underlines the story about the song, “We Shall Overcome.” This book is about a song that has brought people together through its strong, courageous, and powerful words. Its roots began in the time of slavery but the actual song was transferred from the church to the people of America during the Civil Rights Movement. It was later transported across the oceans to other countries where people were fighting for equality. It became a song people sang across the world to celebrate global protests against all kinds of injustice. At the election of President Obama, Americans of all ethnicities sang it in triumph of an African-American becoming president.
It demonstrates just how powerful words and a melody are; how they can evoke change through generations. This important book, lyrically written by Debbie Levy and illustrated with the collage-style art by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, pays tribute to the heroic spirit of the famous song that pervades American history.
Great addition to your Black History Month (which is every month) shelves.
The back matter includes a timeline of the song, touching East Germans, black South Africans, Bengalis, Czechs, and South Koreans. It also contains websites which contain recordings of the song. This title will fit very nicely in a civil rights unit or one about the power of words.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.