Change Sings : A Children's Anthem
by Gorman, Amanda; Long, Loren (ILT)

"As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes-big or small-in the world, in their communities, and most importantly, in themselves"-

A Black girl in red Converse holds a large acoustic guitar and sits beside this book's opening words: "I can hear change humming / In its loudest, proudest song. / I don't fear change coming, / And so I sing along." In front of a beautiful, stained glass-like mural of Martin Luther King, Jr., she meets a white boy in a yarmulke, carrying a tuba. The two pair up and begin performing acts of community service, such as picking up litter and feeding the hungry, accompanied by poet Gorman's rhyming couplets, which are uplifting, inspiring, and refined. Long's stunning artwork, realistically rendered in acrylics and colored pencil, makes expert use of white space, rich colors, light, and shadow, as spreads alternate between placing figures against white backgrounds and displaying full-color scenes that span two pages. The positive messaging speaks to building bridges rather than walls and embracing differences, and with each new child encountered, the girl hands them an instrument, inviting them to take up the song. A lovely and loving call to action and kindness. Grades K-3. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

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) Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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