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Today is Martin Luther King’s actual birthday. The celebrations that will take place on the national holiday are sure to include various renditions of the song that has become associated with the Civil Rights Movement, “We Shall Overcome.”

We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song (opens in a new window) (Jump at the Sun/Hyperion), a recent book written by Debbie Levy distills the history of the song as well as placing it in a contemporary context: “We still sing. We sing to declare that … we are all … deserving of respect, sharing … the same future together.” Colorful illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton enhance the book’s appeal and its up-to-date appearance.

What’s old is new — as the song and its presentation for younger children demonstrate.

About the Author

Reading Rockets’ children’s literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids’ books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Publication Date
January 15, 2014