Tuesday, September 26, 2017

PICTURE BOOK REVIEW: Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing by Leda Schubert


There was nobody like Pete Seeger.
Wherever he went, he got people singing.
With his head thrown back
and his Adam s apple bouncing,
picking his long-necked banjo
or strumming his twelve-string guitar,
Pete sang old songs,
new songs,
new words to old songs,
and songs he made up.

In this tribute to legendary musician and activist Pete Seeger, author Leda Schubert highlights major musical events in Mr. Seeger's life as well important moments of his fight against social injustice. From singing sold-out concerts to courageously standing against the McCarthy-era finger-pointing, Pete Seeger's life is celebrated in this book.


 for Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing
Leda Schubert holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children and Young Adults and was a core faculty member until 2012. She is the author of many award-winning titles, including The Princess of Borscht, Ballet of the Elephants, and Monsieur Marceau, winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction. Leda lives in Plainfield, Vermont, with her husband and two dogs. 
To learn more, and to download a curriculum guide, visit ledaschubert.com.

Raúl Colón has illustrated several highly acclaimed picture books, including Draw!; the New York Times-bestselling Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt; Susanna Reich’s José! Born to Dance; and Jill Biden’s Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops. Mr. Colón lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.

Leda Schubert provides some great links to recordings and videos of Pete Seeger here.


★“Schubert and Colón ably demonstrate one of their book’s final assertions: ‘there really was nobody like Pete Seeger.’”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“A rousing tribute to a singular musician and activist who ‘walked the talk.’” —Publishers Weekly

“This inspiring picture book biography about one of America’s greatest folk heroes is sure to get a new generation of children singing.” —School Library Journal

“An inspiring and heartfelt tribute to, as Schubert calls him, a ‘true American hero.’” —Horn Book

I'll admit, I have a special place in my heart for picture book biographies.  I'm not sure why I love them so much, maybe it's the beautiful artwork that usually accompanies them.  Or maybe it's the way the authors have to work so hard to choose just the right words to describe the person.  Whatever the reason, I was happy to pick up this book about Pete Seeger.  While I came after Seeger's time, I am very familiar with a lot of the songs that he brought to the world.  In fact, I was amazed at how many of the songs that Schubert listed in her text I recognized.

At a time when there is so much contention and disagreement in the world, it was refreshing to read this beautiful book about someone who worked hard to bring unity and peace.  Someone who used his talents to inspire people to change themselves and then change the world around them. Unlike many who like to talk about change, Seeger worked to bring about change, he really walked the talk.  Schubert's text does a great job of introducing this man in a way that children can understand and appreciate.  I loved the way she integrated his song titles into the text as she talked about the issues that he worked so hard for.

As for the illustrations, the minute I saw Colon's name on the book, I knew they would be gorgeous.  And I was right.  The soft texture of his illustrations suits the subject of the book to a tee.  This is a book that I would highly recommend, not just for the historical impact that Seeger made, but for the inspiring example he could be for us today, through both his beautiful music and his focus on community.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a big PB biography fan, too! Can't wait to read this one.


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