Change Sings: A Children's Anthem
“Together the author and illustrator have woven a powerful message, truly an anthem that children—and their parents—will want to sing loudly.”
Amanda Gorman’s Change Sings is one of the most fervently awaited picture books this fall. Gorman’s dazzling performance reading her poem at President Biden’s inauguration promised that her children’s book would be no less inspiring. In clear, vivid language, she affirms the power to have a positive effect that we all carry within ourselves:
“I hear change humming in its loudest, proudest song. I don’t fear change coming. And so I sing along.”
The words will inspire young readers that they, too, can be “just what the world needs.” Gorman urges us all to come together rather than fragmenting apart:
“I also walk our differences, to show we are the same.”
As stirring as the words are, it’s the illustrations that bring this book to an even deeper level. Loren Long introduces us first to the narrator, a young Black girl, then brings in a diverse cast of characters, starting with a boy in a kippah, a welcome surprise given the way Jewish kids aren’t usually included in diversity discussions.
When Gorman writes, “I don’t make a taller fence, but fight to build a better bridge,” Loren doesn’t choose the obvious image of a bridge linking two neighborhoods or different people. Instead, he makes another surprising decision: the bridge is a ramp being constructed so a girl in a wheelchair will have easier access to her home. More and more kids are brought in, ending with a diverse cast of characters. The narrator started out speaking as “I” but by the end of the book, she talks of “we,” showing the way forward into the future. One person can make a small change, but joined by many others, “we’re what the world is becoming, and we know it won’t be long.”
While Gorman sings of welcoming change, of welcoming others, Loren shows us what that looks like in tangible familiar ways. Together the author and illustrator have woven a powerful message, truly an anthem that children—and their parents—will want to sing loudly together.