Reviews for Freedom Song : Young Voices and the Struggle for Civil Rights

Booklist Reviews 2009 February #1
Music was one of the fuels that fired the civil rights movement. Songs such as "We Shall Overcome" were sung at rallies and protests and became synonymous with the struggle. Turck examines this inextricable relationship in a book with plenty of interesting information; unfortunately, the organization makes it difficult to find these nuggets. The introduction sets the American scene in the 1950s and chronicles the rise of the civil rights movement; this segues into information about the Children s Choir, founded in Chicago. The narrative moves on to Birmingham and back to Chicago. Then it s off to Africa for the origins of gospel music. Chapters such as these are interspersed with pages entitled "Voices of the Choir," in which individual choir members are profiled. The repetition is also a detriment, but probably few kids will read this all the way through, choosing instead to dip in here and there. The pluses include an attractive design with well-chosen black-and-white photos, an extensive list of resources, and a CD of movement songs by the Children s Choir. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 November #2
From the introduction, it seems that this will be the story of the Chicago Children's Choir, a world-renowned choir inspired by the civil-rights movement and committed to excellence, racial equality and social justice. However, the story of the choir is swamped by the in-depth coverage of the civil-rights movement. Though eloquently written, with song lyrics and well-chosen photographs breaking up the text, the volume misses an opportunity to tell the story from a fresh perspective. Still, Turck does a fine job of reminding readers about several important issues: "Segregation in the South was enforced by law. Segregation in the North was enforced by simple racism"; the civil-rights movement is not over, but continues today through the struggles by gay people, immigrants, students and many people around the world; African-Americans have struggled for civil rights since the days of slavery. An accompanying CD will inspire readers to learn more about how music went hand-in-hand with the struggle, and a wealth of websites, music and videos is listed in the bibliography. (song appendix, notes on the CD) (Nonfiction. 9 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 January

Gr 7 Up--Many books have been written about the Civil Rights Movement, but this one, with its unique focus, adds a new and captivating facet to the subject. Its premise is that music was the universal link that bound together the young and old, black and white as one, with a singular purpose: to seek equality and justice for all. The book is divided into chapters that represent the history of the Civil Rights Movement. "Sunday of Song," "Singing in the Churches," and "South Africa," for example, contain information about the factual events while including how the evolution of the music captured the mood and sentiment of the time. The importance of music in the lives of African Americans is described in depth: the instruments used; the types of songs, including field hollers, spirituals, gospel, and protest music, are examined for their impact on the movement in the past and up to the present day. The many clear, black-and-white photos give readers a real sense of the determination and courage that was shown. Images of the musicians and singers such as Woody Guthrie and Billie Holiday are shown alongside the songs they wrote. The accompanying CD allows students to internalize the words and their emotional impact as they listen. Overall, this informative and well-written book is an excellent addition to any collection.--Margaret Auguste, Franklin Middle School, Somerset, NJ

[Page 129]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

VOYA Reviews 2008 December
This book was written to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Chicago Children's Choir and to look back at the history of the civil rights movement through the choir. The choir was formed by a young Unitarian minister who was committed to including children of different ethnic and economic backgrounds into one cohesive group. The choir and those supporting them could be considered musical spokespeople of change As a research tool, this book will appeal almost exclusively to teens who are interested in learning everything they can about the songs, singers, and songwriters of the civil rights movement. The constant switching from the present to the past and back makes the narrative more difficult to read as a complete story. The explanation of phrases, such as restrictive covenant, de facto, and plaintiff, is helpful for younger teens but clunky in execution. An accompanying CD of songs, recorded by the current Chicago Children's Choir, include popular and traditional songs that are meaningful in the movement's history. The songs are a pleasure to hear. The song appendix, an explanation of the songs on the Road to Freedom CD, and the resources (suggested Web sites, music, videos/DVDs, books) are the features that make this book a unique purchase.-Stacy Hayman Index. Illus. Photos. Biblio. Further Reading. Appendix. 3Q 2P M J S Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.