The song most associated with the civil rights movement in the U.S., is now the topic of a picture book for children. Written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song, shows how the song came to be associated with freedom and racial justice not just in the U.S., but in many countries around the world as well.
The song has its roots in the days of slavery, and scenes from the book show the struggles black people went through to get the same rights as whites. From the days of the Civil War to the times of protests at lunch counters, to the signing of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, to the spread of the message to other countries, to the election of the first black president in the U.S., We Shall Overcome has captured the yearning for freedom from repression.
The illustrations mark key events during this long history, which is detailed at the back of the book. We Shall Overcome is a great picture book to share with children of all races. While it’s particularly appropriate during African-American History Month in February, it’s reflection on history and theme of fairness make it good to read with children aged 4 to 8 at any time of the year.
The publisher gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.