Book review: ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’ by Amanda Gorman, images by Loren Long


By Terri Schlichenmeyer

You don’t like it.

It wasn’t what you wanted. You did not ask for it and you are not happy. It shouldn’t be that way. It’s not good, and you don’t like it. Someone needs to fix this, so why don’t you? Why, like in the new book “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem” by Amanda Gorman, pictures by Loren Long, aren’t you looking for a different kind of music?

One thing you can count on for the rest of your life: Things won’t always stay the same. You were once a baby and now you are an adult. Your bedroom changed when you were too big for your crib. Look around and your neighborhood is changing all the time! The change is happening every minute of every day, it buzzes like a guitar string, and if you listen you can ‘sing along’. You won’t be the first, you know; many of America’s most beloved heroes shouted, spoke, spoke and sang for the change to come.

This is because with change comes hope.

The change doesn’t have to be big, of course. You can bring change by picking up trash at the park near you, or asking for cleaner air or better playground equipment or better schools. You can volunteer to help others by being generous with your time. Bring your friends and make them “a hundred hearts, each of us raising our hands”. Do it today, tomorrow morning, the next day, or the next day, even if no one else knows.

Make change, even if you’re not around to see it and the good that comes with it. Make your change music that everyone can play, even if they are different from you. Make it fun. Make the change that’s in you, to see results you want to see.

Then watch what happens: When you start to do good, someone else is inspired and wants to do something good too. Two people become four and more and more and that is “exactly what the world needs”. So what will you do? Where will you start? Who will you ask? Won’t you jump on the train too?

When everyone around you is doing something that sounds like fun, you naturally want to jump in and join them. Your 4-8 year old may feel embarrassed about this, or he may get excited when he sees people doing something for the world; Either way, “Change Sings” shows why it’s important to get involved, especially if you’re a kid.

Pick up this book to read it aloud to your child, and you’ll notice two things: The artwork is lush and colorful, but artist Loren Long isn’t overly stimulating. In this book, soft, calm images accompany the second thing: a story that consists of relatively few words, as author-poet Amanda Gorman tells the story simply but in a way that truly calls children to life. ‘action.

This book is a good start to a conversation about current events, or you may just enjoy it for its musical prose. “Change Sings” is a joyful book, and your child will love it.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is the bookworm. Terri has been reading since she was three, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a Wisconsin prairie with a man, two dogs and 16,000 pounds.

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