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Sing Freedom: A Country Wins Its Freedom Through Song Hardcover – October 1, 2015
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About the Author
Vanita Oelschlager is a wife, mother, grandmother, philanthropist, former teacher, current caregiver, author and poet. She is a graduate of Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as a Trustee. Vanita is also Writer in Residence for the Literacy Program at The University of Akron.
Kristin Blackwood is an experienced illustrator. Some of her other books include My Grampy Can’t Walk; Let Me Bee; Big Blue; Made In China; What Pet Will I Get?; Ivy in Bloom and Ivan’s Great Fall. She uses a linoleum reduction technique for creating the illustrations for this story. Kristin lives in Lakewood, Ohio, with her two daughters.
Mike Blanc is a career artist, who has illustrated countless publications for both corporate and public interests, worldwide. After 35 accomplished years of traditional drawing and painting, he now prefers the digital mediums. Previous titles by Mike and Vanita include Postcards from a War and Francesca. Mike lives in Ohio.
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World War 11 brings bullets and tanks into their land and people are forced to give up their flag, their language, and their most beloved possession... their spirit. But a flicker of hope never totally dies. Hope burns brightly inside of them and is expressed through their music.
Yearly they hold a song festival called the Laulupidu where singing groups gather from all over the country. They dress in their traditional garb and together sing songs. Often more than 30,000 singers assemble to harmonize together.
The Soviets censor all their traditional Estonian songs. All but one..."Land of My Fathers, Land That I Love," is overlooked. The brave Estonians decide to take a risk and sing that patriotic song at the music festival. They sing that song as the last one at their concert and with thousands of voices participating can not be stopped by the authorities.
In 1985, under Mikhail Gorbachev, the new leader of the Soviet Union, softens restrictions in the country. The Estonians, seeing their chance to break free, start talking about their history and celebrating their culture (cautiously of course) once again. They even talk about making changes in the government. Now that takes courage. They revert to singing Estonian songs and waving their flag proudly after 40 long years of repression.
The Baltic countries join in acts of open defiance with them... and this is the part I love the best...
"1,000,000 people from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, joined hands to form a human chain across their countries from the city of Tallinn to Vilnius in Lithuania. They joined hands in love and not violence."
When you read that you both want to cheer and to cry. Awesome!
These brave and determined people are not broken or irradiated but become one powerful voice for peace and liberty without using bullets or tanks. Violence didn't change their status. They did what they knew best. They raise their voices in song and in so doing they changed their world and regain their unique identity. They stand proud... they are Estonians!!!
The illustrations are strong and make the text come alive. Kids will get a better understanding of the story and the history of this nation because of them. This book captures the difficult, often dangerous, struggle of Estonia to rise out of their ruins and become a powerful, peaceful, unified, sovereign nation once again under their very own flag. I highly recommend this book.
Although this is considered a children's book, I believe "Sing Freedom!" is a book people of all ages should read.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the book's publisher in exchange for my honest review, for which I am very grateful.
I gratefully received a free ARC via NetGalley for my unbiased review.
by Vanita Oelschlager
Estonia has a great tradition of song. But when the USSR took control of the country after World War II, they had a problem. The songs were changed, moved from their patriotic enthusiasm to Russian Soviet Doctrine. The oppressive Communist regime had a problem with their Authoritarian government, the people could not stand the world without their songs. Starting with forcing the acceptance of hidden meaning in their music the Estonians unified under song, and changed their world.
I was given this book through Net Galley and am posting an honest review.