Books

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’ by Amanda Gorman, pictures by Loren Long

c.2021, Viking Penguin
$18.99
32 pages

You don’t like that.

It wasn’t what you wanted. You didn’t ask for it and you’re not happy. Things shouldn’t be that way. It’s not right, and you don’t like it. Somebody needs to fix this, so why not you? Why, as in the new book “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem” by Amanda Gorman, pictures by Loren Long, don’t you reach 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’re grown. Your room changed when you were too big for your crib. Look around and your neighborhood changes all the time! Change happens every minute of every day, it hums like a guitar string, and if you listen, you can “sing along.” You won’t be the first one, you know; many of America’s most beloved heroes screamed and spoke and sang for change to come.

That’s because with change comes hope.

Change doesn’t have to be big, of course. You can make change by picking up trash in the park near your home, 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 along and make it “a hundred hearts, each of us lifting a hand.” Do it today, tomorrow morning, the next day or the next, even when no one else knows about it.

Make change, even if you aren’t around to see it and the good that comes from it. Make your change into music that anyone can play, even if they’re different than you. Make it something fun. Make the change that’s inside you, to see the results you want to see.

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

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

Grab this book to read aloud to your child, and you’ll notice two things: the illustrations are lush and colorful, but artist Loren Long doesn’t overstimulate. In this book are gentle, quiet pictures to accompany the second thing: a story that consists of relatively few words, as author-poet Amanda Gorman tells the tale simply but in a way that truly calls kids to action.

This book is a good start to a current-events conversation, or you can just enjoy it for its musical prose. “Change Sings” is a joyous book, and your child will like that.

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