Amanda Gorman & Loren Long
Change Sings joined the bookshelf ranks yesterday, and woah buddy it’s incredible. Amanda Gorman graced the inaugural stage and blew all of our minds with her powerful words, and she’s here to do it again with her picture book. Filled with hope and optimism, readers watch the narrator empower herself and others to make positive changes in their community.
Gorman’s lilting text is sparse and I truly feel like the descriptor “beautiful” doesn’t do it justice. The narrator speaks with confidence, she knows her generation can change society for the better. I love the quiet Jewish representation of the narrator’s tuba playing compatriot and the insistence that we all must embrace and spearhead change. A line in particular that stuck out to me is about building a better bridge rather than a higher wall.
Knowing that we can make a difference, however small, is the mantra that sticks with the reader long after closing the cover. We can teach patience and the fortitude to persevere through hardship by relying on the goodness and light that each individual brings to the metaphorical table. And we can create new tables, bridges, and boats to sail across the seas of change.
This book was kindly sent by Penguin Kids, but all opinions are my own!
Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, as well as an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where she studied Sociology. She has written for the New York Times and has three books forthcoming with Penguin Random House.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, she began writing at only a few years of age. Now her words have won her invitations to the Obama White House and to perform for Lin-Manuel Miranda, Al Gore, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, and others. Amanda has performed multiple commissioned poems for CBS This Morning and she has spoken at events and venues across the country, including the Library of Congress and Lincoln Center. She has received a Genius Grant from OZY Media, as well as recognition from Scholastic Inc., YoungArts, the Glamour magazine College Women of the Year Awards, and the Webby Awards. She has written for the New York Times newsletter The Edit and penned the manifesto for Nike’s 2020 Black History Month campaign. In 2017, Amanda Gorman was appointed the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate by Urban Word – a program that supports Youth Poets Laureate in more than 60 cities, regions and states nationally. She is the recipient of the Poets & Writers Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and is the youngest board member of 826 National, the largest youth writing network in the United States.
Loren Long is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture books Otis, Otis and the Tornado, Otis and the Puppy, An Otis Christmas, Otis and the Scarecrow and Otis and the Kittens. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of President Barack Obama’s picture book Of Thee I Sing, Matt de la Pena’s Love, the re-illustrated edition of The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, and Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna. Loren’s new edition of Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas is a modern, more inclusive take on the classic. His most recent works are Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler and the much-anticipated picture book, Change Sings written by Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman, publishing September 21, 2021.