Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Let Freedom Sing

Let Freedom Sing

Vanessa Newton
Picture Book
For ages 6 and up
Blue Apple Books, 2009   ISBN: 978-1934706909

During the Civil Rights movement marchers, protestors, and activists had to face all kinds of obstacles. They were ridiculed, arrested, imprisoned, beaten, and bombed. It was a hard time and often, to lift their spirits and to give them strength, the activists raised their voices in song. Sometimes the words they sang described what they were doing: sitting on a bus, sitting in a jail cell, or participating in a sit in. Sometimes their songs were about “letting the best in themselves shine the brightest.” The song “This little light of mine,” was just such a song.

In this powerful and memorable book, Vanessa Newton takes the words of “This little light of mine,” a gospel children’s song, weaving her own words around the lyrics to show her readers how people from all walks of life “let their lights shine” for the civil rights cause. She shows how the Jim Crow laws kept white and black separate, and she shows how people dared to fight those laws without resorting to violence.

Throughout the book, Vanessa Newton marries the text with her delightfully warm and rich vintage style multimedia art. The pictures capture special moments in the civil rights movement, including the day when Rosa Parks refused to move from her bus seat, and the day when Ruby Bridges dared to walk alone to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.