cover image Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem

Amanda Gorman, illus. by Loren Long. Viking, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-20322-4

This rallying cry, the picture book debut of presidential inaugural poet Gorman, opens with a cross-legged Black child strumming a guitar: “I can hear change humming/ In its loudest, proudest song./ I don’t fear change coming,/ And so I sing along,” the confident first-person rhyming narration begins. As the child walks past a vivid mural of Martin Luther King Jr., they encounter a light-skinned Jewish youth carrying a tuba. Outstretching a garbage bag, the first child entreats the second to join in cleaning up a park. The duo then continues through their city modeling serving actions: offering sustenance to a parent and child, delivering groceries to an elderly person, outstretching instruments to other children, and working toward community betterment. Subtle allusion to contemporary events (“Take a knee to make a stand”) enrich the text. Acrylic and colored pencil illustrations by Long (Someone Builds the Dream) have a stunning depth of light and gradient, conveying a variously inclusive community working toward populating a symbolic mural of their own. This uplifting serenade will instill readers of any age with hope for the future and the initiative to improve it. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)