We Shall Overcome

Bryan Collier. Orchard, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-338-54037-6
Illustrating lyrics of the civil rights protest anthem “We Shall Overcome,” Collier (All Because You Matter) demonstrates the song’s continuing significance, layering dynamic, vibrantly hued images of a contemporary Black girl’s day-to-day with grayscale drawings of meaningful events in Black history—and drawing a direct link between them. In one spread, Rosa Parks refusing to give up her bus seat appears on the verso in b&w; on the recto, the modern child smiles and waves in full color on a present-day bus. In another, an image of three Black children entering school under a vibrant blue sky juxtaposes a somber grayscale work of the Little Rock Nine. In this way, Collier moves between past, present, and future, with the faces of Black ancestors appearing in the child’s footsteps, then in a set of painted wings the girl wears that shows portraits of the Black revolutionaries who came before, suggesting that their work will carry her to a brighter, more peaceful future. Back matter provides detailed notes of historical scenes shown as well as a brief history of “We Shall Overcome.” Ages 4–8. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 10/21/2021
Release date: 11/02/2021
Genre: Children's
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