Sing a Song
Just in time for the 120th anniversary of the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing"--this stirring book celebrates the Black National Anthem and how it inspired five generations of a family. Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us.Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us.In 1900, in Jacksonville, Florida, two brothers, one of them the principal of a segregated, all-black school, wrote the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing" so his students could sing it for a tribute to Abraham Lincoln's birthday. From that moment on, the song has provided inspiration and solace for generations of Black families. Mothers and fathers passed it on to their children who sang it to their children and grandchildren. It has been sung during major moments of the Civil Rights Movement and at family gatherings and college graduations. Inspired by this song's enduring significance, Kelly Starling Lyons and Keith Mallett tell a story about the generations of families who gained hope and strength from the song's inspiring words.

Sing a Song Details

TitleSing a Song
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 6th, 2019
PublisherNancy Paulsen Books
ISBN-139780525516095
Rating
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Music, History, Cultural, African American, Family

Sing a Song Review

  • Abigail
    January 1, 1970
    Author Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrator Keith Mallett join forces in this beautiful picture-book tribute to that classic song, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," originally written and composed by African-American brothers James Weldon Johnson and R. Rosamond Johnson as a hymn for Abraham Lincoln's birthday. First performed on February 12, 1900, by a choir of five hundred African-American students - pupils at James Weldon Johnson's all-black Stanton School in Jacksonville, Florida - the song would Author Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrator Keith Mallett join forces in this beautiful picture-book tribute to that classic song, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," originally written and composed by African-American brothers James Weldon Johnson and R. Rosamond Johnson as a hymn for Abraham Lincoln's birthday. First performed on February 12, 1900, by a choir of five hundred African-American students - pupils at James Weldon Johnson's all-black Stanton School in Jacksonville, Florida - the song would go on to become the unofficial "Negro National Anthem," adopted by the NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), and has remained a deeply meaningful work of music for the African-American community, over the course of many generations. The narrative here follows five generations of a single family, as they learn and sing the song, while events in America move on. Whether it be the tragedy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, or the hope implicit in the opening of The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the generations of this family respond with the at times poignant, at times celebratory words of this classic song...Having always loved the song mentioned in the title, I picked up Sing a Song: How "Lift Every Voice and Sing" Inspired Generations with a sense of anticipation, one made all the keener by the beauty of the cover art. That said, I wasn't expecting to be quite as moved as I was by Lyons' narrative, which had me choking up on more than one occasion. A tribute to the hardships and injustice endured by the African-American community, and a celebration of the strength, love and faith that allowed them, not just to survive, but to triumph, this is a lovely book. It examines a non-fiction topic - the influence of a beautiful and deeply meaningful song, and the way in which it reflects American history - through a fictional lens, showing through its tale of one family over the generations, the way in which artistic expression can reflect and strengthen the human spirit. The artwork from Kaith Mallett is lovely, colorful and full of light, and capturing the feeling of each generation. Although no musical notation is included, the full text of the song appears on the front and rear end-papers, and a brief author's afterword gives more information about the history of the song. A wonderful book, one I would highly recommend to those seeking children's stories about this song in particular, about the role of music in human history in general, or about the struggles and triumphs of the African-American experience.
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  • Donalyn
    January 1, 1970
    I hope the final book includes the complete lyrics for “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” so families and classes can learn and sing them together.
  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    The only thing missing from the book is a page at the back before the author's note with the entire song on a page. Yes, the song is written in italics into the story itself-- woven in-- but I want to see the entire song on the page. Knowing a bit about the song only because each year at our opening Convocation celebration in my school district, this song is sung, it was a lovely story that shows how integral the song was to each generation for various reasons-- whether it be inspiring, upliftin The only thing missing from the book is a page at the back before the author's note with the entire song on a page. Yes, the song is written in italics into the story itself-- woven in-- but I want to see the entire song on the page. Knowing a bit about the song only because each year at our opening Convocation celebration in my school district, this song is sung, it was a lovely story that shows how integral the song was to each generation for various reasons-- whether it be inspiring, uplifting, connection, etc. And the illustrations compliment the storytelling well including the cover art.
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  • Craig Wiesner
    January 1, 1970
    Known as the Black National Anthem, this song was written as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln and sung by a 500 child choir in 1900. For generations it has been a source of inspiration, hope, and courage not just for African-Americans, but for all people, keeping the faith despite the difficult past and holding onto hope for our present and future. This beautiful picture book takes us all on the journey from the song's creation through the day when the National Museum of African American History was Known as the Black National Anthem, this song was written as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln and sung by a 500 child choir in 1900. For generations it has been a source of inspiration, hope, and courage not just for African-Americans, but for all people, keeping the faith despite the difficult past and holding onto hope for our present and future. This beautiful picture book takes us all on the journey from the song's creation through the day when the National Museum of African American History was opened through right now, this very moment, when the song is as important and stirring as ever. Wonderful illustrations carry us on the song and a people's journey. Having sung this in our church many times, I can attest to the power of the words and music. Having now read the book, I can tell you that the story is equally inspiring.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    It's rare that a picture book gives me goosebumps, but this one did. Surely this will receive some Coretta Scott King award love?!?I didn't know the history behind "Lift Every Voice and Sing," but I loved how its history is told through the eyes of one African-American family who started singing it in Florida and how each generation learned the song and sang it at important events and times of American history, ending at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture It's rare that a picture book gives me goosebumps, but this one did. Surely this will receive some Coretta Scott King award love?!?I didn't know the history behind "Lift Every Voice and Sing," but I loved how its history is told through the eyes of one African-American family who started singing it in Florida and how each generation learned the song and sang it at important events and times of American history, ending at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016 with President Obama. Good stuff. Perfect purchase for all grade schools and public libraries. And don't just read it in February, people. Sure, it can be read at Lincoln's birthday, but MLK Jr was born in January and was killed in April. The museum opened in September. And this is a perfect read anytime a discussion about social justice is needed with the kiddos.
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  • Abby Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful book about the power of a song, often referred to as the Black national anthem, this book is also about the power of tradition and how culture gets passed down from generation to generation. Rich paintings illustrate generations of an African American family singing the song, passing down their traditions, and finding different occasions (graduations, family reunions, etc.) to give this song more layers of meaning. Perfect for discussing the power of the arts, oral traditions, Americ A beautiful book about the power of a song, often referred to as the Black national anthem, this book is also about the power of tradition and how culture gets passed down from generation to generation. Rich paintings illustrate generations of an African American family singing the song, passing down their traditions, and finding different occasions (graduations, family reunions, etc.) to give this song more layers of meaning. Perfect for discussing the power of the arts, oral traditions, American traditions, and/or African American history.
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  • Anthony
    January 1, 1970
    The history behind the hymn written by two brothers, James Weldon Johnson, and John Rosamond Johnson for the celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, and how it went on to become known over the years as the Black National Anthem. The song has become a symbol of faith, brilliance, resistance, and resilience by the many generations that has sung it, and hope for the future generations who will continue to sing it.
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  • Esutterlin
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! Through the years, joyful, exuberant, strengthening, blessing - this book is a vibrant Black National Anthem tribute. Author Kelly Lyons retells the song's impact as it is passed from generation to generation. As the story is brought to a close in a child's experience at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the author speaks to readers, encouraging them to "Keep on keeping on" and to pass on this legacy.
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  • Edward Sullivan
    January 1, 1970
    How "Lift Every Voice and Sing," written in 1900 for a tribute for Abraham Lincoln's birthday, became known as the Negro National Anthem, was adopted by the NAACP as its official song, and inspired millions of African Americans over the past 120 years.
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  • Andréa
    January 1, 1970
    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    The illustrations in this one are really unique and beautiful.
  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely story of the James Weldon Johnson's anthem Lift Every Voice and Sing.
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    The illustrations! Love how the story is woven through the generations.
  • Emma (Miss Print)
    January 1, 1970
    Very beautiful artwork and I love the way this moves through generations. I think some of it would resonate more if I had more personal connection to the song, but that's fine.
  • Alice
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars - nicely woven
  • Kathy Iwanicki
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful story that shows the power of song to inspire a generation. A must read aloud.
  • Angie Moore
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely beautiful book! Brought tears to my eyes.
  • Ireadkidsbooks
    January 1, 1970
    Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to your 2020 Coretta Scott King Award winning book! Tenderly written and illustrated. Fingers crossed that the final version includes lyrics to the song (or is there some copyright issue at stake?).EDITED: The final version DOES include the lyrics! Huzzah!
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