Cover image for Like a bird : the art of the American slave song
Title:
Like a bird : the art of the American slave song
ISBN:
9781467785501
Physical Description:
40 pages : color illustrations, music ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
1060 L Lexile
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
Summary:
Enslaved African Americans longed for freedom, and that longing took many forms including music. Drawing on biblical imagery, slave songs both expressed the sorrow of life in bondage and offered a rallying cry for the spirit.
Holds:

Available:*

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On Order

Summary

Summary

Enslaved African Americans longed for freedom, and that longing took many forms--including music. Drawing on biblical imagery, slave songs both expressed the sorrow of life in bondage and offered a rallying cry for the spirit.

Like a Bird brings together text, music, and illustrations by Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator Michele Wood to convey the rich meaning behind thirteen of these powerful songs.


Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4 Up-"Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart." These words by Frederick Douglass are offered in an endnote to provide context for the 13 spirituals included in this volume. Readers will learn how the book began, with Wood's acrylic paintings inspired by the songs; the author then studied the paintings and researched the songs before writing the text. Each spread features a painting on the recto and one or two paragraphs of text along with the music and verses on the verso. There is also a full-spread painting of a group of slaves riding a metaphorical railroad conducted by Harriet Tubman preceding the spread for the song "Get on Board-the Gospel Train," which also includes an archival photo of Tubman. Some of the songs will be familiar, such as "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," while others, like "Ain't Gonna Study War No More," "Go Down, Moses," and "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," will resonate with older readers. The vibrant paintings often incorporate quilting motifs and historical events. Original lyrics are featured in the back matter. An archival photo of the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University in Nashville, TN, who popularized the spiritual as a musical form in the 1870s, appears in the introduction. VERDICT This is an excellent resource for music and art teachers as well as for social studies and U.S. history lessons.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Beautiful illustrations and short, informative paragraphs come together to tell the history of songs that became American slave songs. The book opens by introducing readers to slave songs and describing how they transformed into spirituals. Thirteen spirituals are featured here, and the descriptions, which include historical, biographical, and biblical context, are all accompanied by evocative paintings. Each paragraph invites readers to notice themes in the paintings that are repeated in the lyrics and raises questions to encourage critical engagement with the text. Wood's gorgeous paintings are full of saturated colors and evocative imagery such as luminous blue water resembling stained glass that tie together the concepts at hand. Sheet music and lyrics are included for each tune, and the back matter contains more lyrics, a comprehensive glossary, and lots of suggestions for further reading. A brief note explains that although slaves sang these songs, that does not mean they felt happy. While excellent for music classes, the wealth of historical context makes this a good pick for lessons on the history of U.S. slavery as well.--Paz, Selenia Copyright 2016 Booklist