Saturday, May 19, 2018

How Sweet the Sound by Carole Boston Weatherford - OPTIONAL

Weatherford, Carole Boston  How Sweet the Sound, illustrated by Frank Morrison.  NON-FICTION/PICTURE BOOK Atheneum Books (Simon and Schuster), 2018. $18.  9781481472067

This book tells the history behind the hymn "Amazing Grace".  John Newton is the author of the original lines of Amazing Grace, but over time through the struggles of African Americans, Cherokee Indians, Civil War soldiers and anti-war protests the song has evolved, taken on new meaning and lyrics have been added to the original.  The first part of this book explains a sea-faring Newton who was almost killed in a storm, and it was the turning point for his conversion to God.  The last part of the book shows those since Newton who have transformed the song and sung it for comfort in hard times.

The illustrations in this book are fantastic and tell the story better than the text with the expressive facial expressions as well as use of color.  Too bad the illustrations aren't enough to carry the story.  The text is written like a disjointed poem, which comes across as incomplete sentences, so as an exposure to Newton and his history it's confusing until you get to the author's note to read the actual history.  That said, the author's note gives a fascinating history and I wish that would have been the text for the pictures.

EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

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