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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Stand Up and Sing! Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

Today I am sharing a fun book that teaches kids about Pete Seeger. Now Pete Seeger is a name I know but I will admit besides the fact that he was a folk musician I did not know much about him. Do you? The book is Stand Up and Sing!: Pete Seeger, Folk Music and the Path to Justice by Susanna Reich and illustrated by Adam Gustavson. I learned so much about Pete Seeger from this picture book.


The fact that I found most interesting is that in 1957 Pete Seeger introduced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the song "We Shall Overcome". It is a song that became the mantra of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Dr. King invited Pete and his wife, Toshi, to join him on the march from Selma to Montgomery. He knew that singing kept them strong. 

Pete Seeger loved music from an early age. He was "playing" music and dancing as a toddler. He lived through the depression and went to boarding school. His family took him to places where he saw the extreme poverty that exists in our country and this affected him. His happiest times involved music. In college he wanted a banjo and started learning folk music when he got one. He met Woody Guthrie and learned from him. He even got to tag along on a trip with Woody to Texas. They played at union meetings along the way. 
PeteSeeger2
Pete Seeger performing at the Washington Labor Canteen By Joseph A. Horne [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 He was drafted and fought in World War II. He married Toshi-Aline Ohta before shipping out to the South Pacific. After the war they settled down in Beacon, New York. They built a log cabin on a hill overlooking the Hudson River. He continued to sing and work for justice. He fought for equal rights, workers' rights and for the environment. He was blacklisted from television shows and performances because he performed on the same stage as Paul Robeson, who was black. 

Pete Seeger was a man who tried to help others with his music and stood up for what he thought was right. He faced violence, arrest and being blacklisted (and thus losing revenue) due to his beliefs of equal rights, but he continued to fight for them. He even came up with a plan to help stop the pollution of the Hudson River. He and volunteers built a sloop called Clearwater to sail on the Hudson to remind people to work together to protect the water and earth. Pete Seeger spent his life entertaining and fighting for others. This book shares his story and his spirit with another generation.  
Pete Seeger 2011
Pete Seeger in 2011 By Jim, the Photographer
(http://www.flickr.com/photos/jcapaldi/5854785981/) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The book shares so much information and is written in a manner to give you the spirit of Pete Seeger's music and life. To go with this book we got some CDs out of the library so Hazel and I could hear Pete Seeger's music. Here are a few that we have been listening to recently.

I hope you will check out this great book about an amazing man!!