Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing. Written by Leda Schubert and illustrated by Raul Colon. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2017. $24.99 ages 8 and up
Pete loved singing
and children loved
singing with Pete.
"Froggie Went a-courting."
"Skip to My Lou."
This book is a perfect introduction to Pete Seeger: singer, mentor, environmentalist, protester, leader, civil rights activist, husband, father and hero. Kids should know about him, his music, his passion for life. This will help them on their way. The text is full of compassion and understanding. His impact on American folk music is shared in the song titles included.
In an author's note, Ms. Schubert writes:
"Over the course of his ninety-four years, Pete Seeger sang so much, did so much, wrote so much, spoke so much, and influenced so many people that at times he seemed to be everywhere at once."
He was an honorable man whose commitment to a better world ensured that he continues to be loved today, three and a half years since his death at 94. We sang his songs yesterday, we sing them today, and we will sing them tomorrow. If your kids don't know them, now is your chance to tell them about him, listen to his songs and help them sing along. Then, they will pass them along later in life to their own children.
What a legacy! Long may he live in our collective memory.
Raul Colon's gorgeous artwork is filled with warm, textured color and fine, telling detail, helping children to experience the joy and sadness Pete found in life, and the spunk with which he faced every new experience. It is a book written and illustrated with respect for a great man and a true hero of the people.
The timeline, endnotes, list of books for children and an account of recommended recordings add interest, and are sure to encourage further fact-gathering.
Not everybody had such courage.
When men and women joined hands to fight racism,
Pete sang a powerful song,
and millions sang with him:
"We Shall Overcome."
He gave people hope
when they needed it."