Sunday, January 24, 2021


Taylor, Diane C. Singing For Equality: Musicians of the Civil Rights Era
January 12th 2021 by Nomad Press (VT) 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

This short, colorful, and well-illustrated corporate biography not only covers the lives of Bob Dylan, Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers, Nina Simone, Sam Cooke, and James Brown, but also discusses the state of Civil Rights in the 1950s and 60s and how these musicians used their musical platforms to effect social change.There are lots of timelines, insets, and QR codes linking to illustrative songs. I was a little surprised by the list of people; this covers a period of time just before my consciousness, so while I was familiar with the music of these performers, I didn't know as much about their intersection with history. The evolution of music in the latter half of the twentieth century is explored alongside the changes in Civil Rights, and connections are made to the current social climate, even referencing George Floyd. The pages were well-designed and appealing, and there was plenty of information to make readers stop and think about how music influences society. One weakness was that certain historical figures were mentioned with "no dates given" for birth and death; perhaps the final copy will include these. I will purchase this, especially since enough information for other singers, such as Arlo Guthrie or Joan Baez, is given so that students might be intrigued enough to look for further books. 

Kennedy, Nancy B. and Dockrill, Katy. (Illus.)
Women Win the Vote!: 19 for the 19th Amendment
Copy provided by the publisher

This corporate biography highlights 19 women (and a small handful of others) who were at one point in history involved in the passage of teh 19th amendment. From the well known (like Alice Paul) to the lesser known (Mary Church Terrell and Isabella Beecher Hooker), each woman gets a four page spread of information, including one page of pictures and illustrations. Abundant background information is worked in, sometimes in sidebars, and there is just enough information to whet the appetite of a reader looking to explore longer biographies. It's nice to see a wider range of cultural diversity included. Additional information includes a timeline, photographs, places to visit (my school teacher parents would have LOVED that!), and an extensive bibliography, end notes, and index. 

This is a great, well researched resource not only for starting National History Day projects, but also for reading snippets aloud during Women's History Month. 

My only complaint about this book is that some of the sidebars include 8 point text in white ink on a pale yellow background. This was not a great combinations for readability. 

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