From Publishers Weekly
The lyrics of Harry Dixon Loes's gospel song This Little Light of Mine ring throughout this tribute to individuals who let their inner light shine during the civil rights movement. Newton's concise text touches on landmark incidents, underscoring the courage of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., the Little Rock Nine, the Greensboro Four and Ruby Bridges. After referring to Lyndon Johnson's contribution (he helped to change the law./ Civil rights for everyone), the narrative leaps rather jarringly to the present, as the president addresses the sprawling crowd at his inauguration: Speaking to all Americans,/ Barack Obama had a dream./ As President of the United States,/ He let his light shine. Illustrating the often-repeated refrain, Let it shine! are images of the segregated 1950s and '60s: black and white passengers boarding a bus through different doors, children drinking from separate water fountains. Newton's electric-hued digital compositions have a distinctly retro feel, incorporating postage marks, scraps of text and other layered elements. Potentially a conversation starter, the text's vagueness and lack of detail will necessitate outside resources. All ages. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3—Music played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. One of the songs, This Little Light of Mine
, serves as a recurring focal point in this book. The well-designed book features large, colorful, deceptively simple images highlighting significant dates and events in the African-American struggle for equality. The illustrations are thought-provoking and sure to prompt questions such as, why, in one spread, the children on one page are black and entering a school, or drinking from a water fountain, while on the opposite page, all the children are white and walking toward another school, and drinking from a separate fountain? Text is kept to a minimum, with a few carefully chosen words to describe what is visually represented on each page. For example, one page of a spread reads, "February 1, 1960. The Greensboro Four"—followed by their names. The facing page reads, "Students at lunch counters—/They hoped to be served. As the Greensboro Four sat waiting,/they let their lights shine." While this is a good introduction to the topic, it sometimes presupposes prior knowledge of, or exposure to, African-American history. Pair this offering with This Little Light of Mine
, illustrated by E.B. Lewis's (2005), and/or Ashley Bryan's Let It Shine: Three Favorite Spirituals
(2007, both S & S), both of which include verses and musical notes.—Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH