Stand Up and Sing!

Pete Seeger,
Folk Music,
and the 
Path to Justice

Bloomsbury Children's Books 
(pub. 3.14.2017)
48 pages

A True Tale with
A Cherry On Top  

uthor: Susanna Reich
      and Illustrator: 
           Adam Gustavson

C haracter: Pete Seeger

 verview from the jacket flap: 

    "Pete Seeger was born with music in his bones. Coming of age during the Great Depression, Pete saw poverty and adversity that would forever shape his worldview, but it wasn't until he received his first banjo that he found his way to change the world. It was plucking banjo strings and singing folk songs that showed Pete how music had the incredible power to bring people together.
      Using this gift throughout his life, Pete encouraged others to rally behind causes that mattered - fighting for Civil Rights, ending the Vietnam War, or cleaning up the Hudson River. For Pete, no challenge was too great, and what started out as a love for music turned into a lifetime of activism.
     Inspired by the rhythms of American folk music, this moving account of Pete Seeger's life celebrates his legacy, showing kids of every generation that no cause is too small and no obstacle too large if, together, you stand up and sing!"    
T antalizing taste: 
    "Pete was thrilled when Woody [Guthrie] let him 'tag along' on a trip to Texas, playing at union meetings along the way.
     In Oklahoma City the crowd included oil workers and their wives and children - as well as some men lined up in the back of the room, fixing for a fight. Fearing violence, the organizer called on Pete and Woody to play. Soon the families were singing, and the men in the back slunk off.
     That night Pete saw that music could fill a room with peace and harmony - even if he still couldn't figure out how to sing and play banjo at the same time!"

and something more: The Author's Note notes that Susanna Reich, like Pete Seeger, "grew up in a family with a tradition of political activism." Susanna explains that Pete's "ancestors included Revolutionary War patriots and nineteenth century abolitionists, and his father and stepmother had a profound influence on his thinking about music, culture, and politics.  As I researched this book, I came to understand why Pete saw himself as a link in a chain. It's a chain in which music and social responsibility are intertwined, one that began long before he was born and will continue now that he's gone. This book is meant to be a link in that chain."  And this compelling and inspiring story is indeed that.
       As the text of the story states, "Pete passed away in 2014, but his work isn't done. For in times of war, the world needs peace. In times of hatred, the world needs love. In times of injustice, the world needs truth. And wherever people gather in the name of freedom, they find strength and courage in song."  And in political times such as now, children (and adult readers of children's books) need role models, such as Pete Seeger, who stand up for their beliefs. Thank you to Susanna Reich for writing this wonderful book, and giving me the honor of sharing it.


Cheriee Weichel said...

I think I will have to purchase this book since I am a Pete Seeger fan.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Yes, Cheriee, I think that if you're a Pete Seeger fan you'll love this book! Isn't this a lovely quote of his that's included in the book: "A folk song is like a picture of a bird in midflight... The bird was moving before the picture was taken, and continued flying afterwards."

Anonymous said...

I've been seeing lots of Pete Seeger bios lately and I'm very curious about them because I have no idea who he is, exactly!

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

I love PBBs on art and activism - I have a text-set on just that which I share with teachers when I do PD workshops. Will definitely add this one to my list.

Iron Guy Carl said...

I've been a Pete Seeger fan for decades and will look up this book. Thanks!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Earl,
This is the perfect picture book for you to learn about Pete Seeger. You'll enjoy it, I think.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Myra,
That's terrific that you focus on art and activism in teacher workshops. This is a great addition for that topic.
Thanks for stopping by!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Carl,
Yes, if you're a Pete Seeger fan, you will particularly enjoy this book.
Thanks for stopping by!