The President Sang Amazing Grace

Cameron Kids. Sept. 2019. 40p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781944903848.
Gr 2-4–On June 17th, 2015, a young white man entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and took the lives of nine individuals. In a moment that would later define his presidency, President Obama used a familiar song to remind the nation about the importance of “Amazing Grace.” Originally written as a song, this book provides an illustrated introduction to the president’s response in a time of trial. Although the purpose of the book is to highlight how one can respond with grace instead of hate, readers may have more questions than answers at the book’s completion. The events of June 17th are glossed over and given very little definition. Back matter includes a profile of each of the Emanuel Nine, but no source material or additional resources are provided. The lack of information is lifted somewhat by the strength of the illustrations. The watercolor and pastel images show deep emotion through the use of rich color and carefully designed scenes.
VERDICT An additional purchase only. This well-illustrated ode will need additional sources for its message to hit home.

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