Friday, February 22, 2008

Review: Let it Shine

Let it Shine by Ashley Bryan exudes joy from front to back cover. Vibrant cut paper illustrations are stylized, intricate and surprisingly powerful. It is one of the best representations I've ever seen of what music looks and feels like. Mr. Bryan has won many awards for his work including the Corretta Scott King Award. It is imposible to choose a favorite page as each one evokes the emotions behind the familar lyrics. These songs are deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of our country. It would be difficult to read the text and not hear yourself humming the melody in your head.

Bryan includes a readers note in the back of the book where he shares the history of the unique "Negro Spirituals" song tradition. He says, "Thousands of these songs have been collected since the end of the Civil War and have been kept alive by generations of singers. Whether sung by field hands or opera singers, the Spirituals have the power to touch singers and listeners alike."

And the people said, Amen.

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