#kidlit Biography of Pete Seeger: Stand Up and Sing

“Pete Seeger was born with music in his bones”

That powerful statement encapsulates Susanna Reich’s new picture biography, Stand Up and Sing!: Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice, illustrated by Adam Gustavson.


Why read about Pete Seeger? First of all, he was a popular musician. Many people have heard — or even sung — Pete Seeger’s folk songs.  In addition, he was a social activist interested in making a difference. For example, Seeger joined Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the protest marches in Alabama. It was a time when simply performing on the same stage with African American singer Paul Robeson made him the target of violence. By taking chances, however, he helped make changes.

In addition to standing up, Seeger could be creative with his efforts to bring about change. When he became upset about how polluted the Hudson River had become, rather than staging protests or writing letters, he decided to build a boat and take people out to see the damage first hand. The boat, named the Clearwater, is still sailing on the Hudson River and it is “clear” the water is cleaner these days because of Seeger’s endeavors.

(The Clearwater sailing up the Hudson River photographed by Anthony Pepitone licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license at Wikimedia.)

It is also “clear” author Susanna Reich is passionate about her subject. She explains her feelings of personal connection in the “Author’s Note” in the back matter. Among other ties, she lives in the Hudson Valley and attended many of Seeger’s concerts. Although she’s a big fan, when she started writing this book she probably had no idea how important and timely it would be.

Adam Gustavson’s illustrations shine a further light on Pete Seeger’s life. The main illustrations are digitally-enhanced paintings of gouache, watercolor, and/or oils. Accompanying the more formal illustrations are simpler line drawings that strengthen the down-to-earth tone.

All in all, Stand Up and Sing! is a rousing tribute to a popular folk singer. It is sure to appeal to young musicians and history buffs, alike. Time to sing its praises.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Bloomsbury (March 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0802738125
ISBN-13: 978-0802738127

Suggestions for Related Activities:

1. Listen to some music by Pete Seeger.

2. Visit Sloop Clearwater website, especially  the Teacher Resources for a number of lesson plan and activity ideas (organized by grade and theme).

3. Pair this nonfiction biography with the delightful fiction picture book written by Pete Seeger, Abiyoyo (illustrated by Michael Hays). It is based on a South African folktale. Don’t skip the introduction because Seeger writes how he first told the story to his kids. He also has advice on how to develop and tell stories of your own.

Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Rei/Com edition (October 1, 2001)
ISBN-10: 0689846932
ISBN-13: 978-0689846939

See our previous review of another biography by Susanna Reich, Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat.

Disclosure: These books were supplied by my local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

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Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

#Kidlit for #PoetryMonth: Animal Ark

Are you getting ready to share books for kids for National Poetry Month? Animal Ark: Celebrating our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures (National Geographic Kids) by Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess, Deanna Nikaido, and photographs by Joel Sartore should be at the top of your list.

Animal Ark is an amazing combination of image and text. Full of vibrant verbs, the poems leap off the page:

listen to the rumble
giant stomping feet
calling brothers … sisters

This isn’t old rehashed material, either. Alexander is is referring to the fact elephants communicate through vibrations, which scientists discovered in 1997.

Not only does he reveal interesting facts about animals, but also the importance of conservation.

Listen. We are unique. We share a story. A beginning, a middle, and if we are not careful… an end.

Wow! The sound of the words hang in the air.

The words aren’t all that make this a powerful book. The photographs are incredible, too. Every detail stands out crisp against simple black or white backgrounds. How do you fit over 100 gorgeous photographs into one children’s book? The secret is fold out pages. In the back, a fold shows the name of each animal in the book, as well as its IUCN status.

Animal Ark is so moving, it just might leave you breathless. Perfect to share the main pages for story time with a class, or cuddle up with at bedtime with kids and go through the fold outs. At the very least, expect children to want to go back to it again and again.

You can watch Kwame Alexander talking about the book in this shouldn’t-be-missed book trailer:

Related Activity Suggestions:

  1. Engineering the Perfect Poem by Using the Vocabulary of STEM lesson at ReadWriteThink
  2. How to write STEM haiku at STEM Friday blog
  3. Children’s poetry resources at Poetry Foundation
  4. Check out our growing list of Science Poetry Books at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (February 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1426327676
ISBN-13: 978-1426327674

Disclosure: This book was supplied by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

nonfictionmonday

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

New #Kidlit Mapping My Day Teaches Important Spatial Skills

Today’s the launch day for the new nonfiction picture book Mapping My Day by Julie Dillemuth and illustrated by Laura Wood.

Mapping My Day introduces basic map concepts and vocabulary by following main character Flora through her day. She wakes up to a lesson about cardinal directions, races to the bathroom while learning about map scale, and goes outside to use a treasure map full of landmarks. And that’s all before breakfast.

The back matter includes a “Note to Parents and Caregivers” which encourages children to participate and reinforce learning with suggestions for hands-on mapping activities.

You might wonder if, with the advent of the Global Positioning System (GPS), mapping might be becoming obsolete. Nothing could be further from the case. Maps are ways to present information visually, not only for geography, but also for many other fields including STEM. Plus, spatial skills learned from developing an understanding of maps are important for many careers.

All in all, Mapping My Day is a tool every educator of young children should have in their toolbox.

Related:

  • Download the activity pages from the back matter for free at the Magination Press website (which is the publishing arm of the American Psychological Association)
  • See a list of children’s books for preschoolers that cover spatial concepts.

For older children, tomorrow (3/14) is Pi Day. Check out the Pi Day information and activities at Growing with Science blog and the list of Pi Day books at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Magination Press; 1 edition (March 13, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1433823330
ISBN-13: 978-1433823336

 

Disclosure: This book was supplied by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

nonfictionmonday

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.