cover image By and By: Charles Albert Tindley, the Father of Gospel Music

By and By: Charles Albert Tindley, the Father of Gospel Music

Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Bryan Collier. Atheneum, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-2636-8

Born in the rural South and hired out to farmers at age seven, Charles Albert Tindley (1851–1933) had a thirst for learning. He learned to read from newspaper fragments and walked miles to church, where reading was celebrated: “As I read the Bible aloud/ I had never felt so proud.” As he grew, Tindley sought out teachers and studied for the ministry at night. Sturdy verse by Weatherford weaves the words of hymns the figure wrote (“A better home... I’m going there”) into lines that describe his slow, steady rise through the Great Migration and Great Depression until he became pastor of an urban church with 15,000 parishioners and wrote dozens of hymns for them to sing. Collier creates one compelling watercolor and collage spread after another, from a view of the small boy shadowed by tall trees as he trudges to church to congregants joined in song with Tindley at the pulpit. Though Weatherford doesn’t define gospel music or explain its further development, she artfully champions Tindley’s achievements, and Collier portrays both the man and his life events with memorable visual power. An author’s and illustrator’s note and list of hymns conclude. Ages 4–8. [em](Jan.) [/em]