My Country Tis of Thee - NFPB2014 Review

  It's time for another dip into the Nonfiction Picture Book swimming pool! Be sure to visit KidLitFrenzy every Wednesday for more great titles.

My Country, 'Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights
by Claire Rudolf Murphy (Goodreads Author), Bryan Collier (Illustrations)
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
ISBN 0805082263 (ISBN13: 9780805082265)

Blurb from Goodreads:
     More than any other, one song traces America’s history of patriotism and protest.
     Everyone knows the words to “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.” What most don’t realize is that this iconic song has been a beacon of change for hundreds of years. Generations of protesters and civil rights pioneers have created new lyrics, beginning in royalist Britain and continuing through conflicts in colonial times, the American Revolution, the suffragist and labor movements, and the struggles for black and Native American civil rights. With spectacular illustrations by Caldecott Honor–winning artist Bryan Collier, My Country, ’Tis of Thee offers a fascinating insight into the American fight for freedom.

My Thoughts:

I couldn't resist waiting to post this gem until shortly before the Fourth of July, even though it has been out in the world for about a month now.

I've known the main song forever, and I certainly knew that it started as an English tune called "God Save the King". I had heard that it was changed to become a declaration of American independence. What delighted me was watching the song change as those protesting for fair treatment and equal rights have used it as a rallying call over the years.

Murphy's words and Collier's art combine to give an overview of the fight for women's rights, the end to slavery, civil rights, labor laws, and Native American rights. With just a brief statement of each step of freedom's journey, and the text to the modified lyrics each group created for the song, My Country Tis of Thee is the perfect way to spark the interest of upper middle grade and high school readers.

Uses in the Classroom:
-- Perfect for highlighting during any units that focus on equal rights in American history.
-- Use to introduce a variety of equality topics to spark interest in research
-- Allow students to create their own chapter with new information on current equality fights.

I was inspired to create #bookishnails for this title, too!


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