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God Bless the Child    by Billie Holiday, Arthur Herzog Jr. & Jerry Pinkney order for
God Bless the Child
by Billie Holiday
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Play the CD, and listen to Billie Holiday's resigned and soulful voice as you flip the magnificent pages of God Bless the Child. The text gives us the words of the 1939 song, and Jerry Pinkney's illustrations depict family life and work in the 1930s 'Great Migration' from rural South to urban North.

The 'Artist's Note' at the end explains the Great Migration as 'the largest peacetime movement of people in the United States', during which thousands of African Americans headed North in search of a better life. The last picture shows how it will be achieved - a boy and teacher in a classroom, at a time when free public education was seen as a 'stairway out of poverty' for those who could climb it.

Pinkney has done a remarkable job on the illustrations, which show hard-working, family-oriented folk risking everything for a better future for the children. Use God Bless the Child to explain history, and the importance of education, to your own little ones.

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