Like a Bird

Like a Bird : Slave Song

4.1 (128 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas Expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas


Enslaved African Americans longed for freedom, and that longing took many forms--including music. Drawing on biblical imagery, slave songs both expressed the sorrow of life in bondage and offered a rallying cry for the spirit.

Like a Bird brings together text, music, and illustrations by Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator Michele Wood to convey the rich meaning behind thirteen of these powerful songs.
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Product details

  • 9-12
  • Hardback | 40 pages
  • 133 x 194 x 7.62mm | 385.55g
  • Minneapolis, United States
  • English
  • 1467785504
  • 9781467785501
  • 1,590,197

Review quote

Beautiful illustrations and short, informative paragraphs come together to tell the history of songs that became American slave songs. The book opens by introducing readers to slave songs and describing how they transformed into spirituals. Thirteen spirituals are featured here, and the descriptions, which include historical, biographical, and biblical context, are all accompanied by evocative paintings. Each paragraph invites readers to notice themes in the paintings that are repeated in the lyrics and raises questions to encourage critical engagement with the text. Wood's gorgeous paintings are full of saturated colors and evocative imagery--such as luminous blue water resembling stained glass--that tie together the concepts at hand. Sheet music and lyrics are included for each tune, and the back matter contains more lyrics, a comprehensive glossary, and lots of suggestions for further reading. A brief note explains that although slaves sang these songs, that does not mean that they felt happy. While excellent for music classes, the wealth of historical context makes this a good pick for lessons on the history of U.S. slavery as well.--Booklist

-- "Journal"
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Rating details

128 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 36% (46)
4 42% (54)
3 18% (23)
2 4% (5)
1 0% (0)
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