America the Beautiful: Together We Stand by Katharine Lee Bates, illustrated by Bryan Collier, Raúl Colón, Diane Goode, Mary GrandPré, John Hendrix, Yuyi Morales, Jon J. Muth, LeUyen Pham, Sonia Lynn Sadler, and Chris Soentpiet
Ready to ring in the new year? Sing with me now – I’m pretty sure you know the words to this one: “O beautiful for spacious skies …” Yes, the patriotic classic gets a brand new kiddie book … with phenomenal illustrations created by a long list of award-winning artists who each command a line of the 1893 poem by pioneering poet/professor Katharine Lee Bates.
Every illustrated-stanza-double-paged-spread also includes a pithy presidential quote, from George Washington to Barack Obama. No worries – the choices are most definitely non-partisan: Jimmy Carter, Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, JFK, FDR and his (fifth) cousin Teddy Roosevelt, and George H.W. Bush, all get a say. And, just in case you’re feeling like you’re missing a favorite president, the whole book cover cleverly opens up on the other side to showcase all 44 POTUSes!
The awe-inspiring result might represent a rather different U.S. of A. than perhaps our forefathers envisioned centuries ago, but America the Beautiful is nothing less than stupendous. Take that cover, for instance: the always-delight-inducing LeUyen Pham‘s vision for ” … with brotherhood …” couldn’t be more inclusive, not to mention accurate for what 21st-century America looks like. And, call me crazy (many have), but I like to think that’s young Sasha Obama reaching for the stars! Go, girl, go!
To quote our favorite peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter: “We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” The perfect words to start a thus-far perfect, brand new year. Here’s to a happy, merry, healthy 2013 to all indeed!
Tidbit: Can I just say that certain folks in the publishing world had major faith in Obama’s re-election??!! The book (which pubs today) arrived in my mailbox quite a bit before November 6, 2012. The bottom right picture on the POTUS grid of the inside-side-of-the-cover – specifically the spot for the current president – just happens to be none other than Barack Obama … leaving no room whatsoever for anyone but. I’m just saying …