Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem

Viking. Sept. 2021. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593203224.
Gr 1-3–A celebrated young poet and perennially bestselling illustrator pair up to invite readers on a musical celebration of change. Building a story on Gorman’s declamatory lines—“I can hear change humming/ In its loudest, proudest song./ I don’t fear change coming,/ And so I sing along”—in typically polished, romanticized scenes, Long follows a small Black child carrying a big, beautifully decorated guitar as she gathers a thoroughly diverse group of young musicians to clean up a neatly littered playground, build a ramp for a child in a wheelchair, offer a meal to a homeless mom and son, and finally march beneath a huge urban mural. It proclaims, “We are the change.” “I don’t make a taller fence,” the poet writes, “But fight to build a better bridge.” Readers will have to look elsewhere for leads to specific ways and means, but Gorman’s soaring appeal to “sing along” joins a long chorus of like calls and may kindle a fresh spate of young social activists.
VERDICT So rich are both the art and the verses in uplifting imagery that it’s hard to imagine any young audience remaining unstirred by this call to be the change they want to see.

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