She Sang for the Mountains: The Story of Singer, Songwriter, Activist Jean Ritchie

Reycraft. Aug. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781478874072.
Gr 2-5–Hitchcock and Page bring to life Jean Ritchie’s musical legacy. The folk singer’s life is traced from her early days in Cumberland, KY, to New York City, to her return home in her later years. She began as a music teacher and went on to be a protest anthem writer and an inspiration to many folk musicians who are now household names, e.g., Bob Dylan, who had to settle in court over using one of her songs. The illustrations leap off the page with characters that will remind older readers of stop-motion animation, here set against collage backgrounds. In stark scenes, children will also learn about the art of protest songs and Ritchie’s own work against strip mining. A great addition to existing literature on climate change, this biography adds the subject to the rich list of activists explored in today’s literature. Ritchie’s words are featured throughout; the eccentric art fits the atmosphere of Ritchie’s life and the heart of the book perfectly.
VERDICT Include this Appalachian biography to strengthen nonfiction shelves and introduce readers to a woman they may never encounter otherwise.

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