Pete Seeger’s voice was an American treasure. A new picture book written by Leda Schubert and illustrated by Raúl Colón titled Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing gives a lovely introduction to his life, his music, and his tireless work for social justice through song.
Intended for a young elementary school age audience, this picture book describes Pete Seeger’s music with a melodious text of its own, heavy on quotes and active language, along with song titles interspersed throughout, providing the perfect playlist to follow a reading of the book.
The descriptions of Seeger’s political activism and even his congressional hearing by The House Un-American Activities Committee are simple enough to be appropriate for children as young as kindergarten age and allow for adults to help children understand the important concept of freedom of speech.
The biggest emphasis appears to be Seeger’s ability to bring people together, at concerts, at schools, at rallies, and in informal gatherings. Wherever Seeger went with his banjo or guitar, he brought music to the people, and it was received with love and enthusiasm.
In an end note, the author describes her own childhood experience of growing up with Seeger’s music and even meeting him after a small folk festival. Her adoration of his work comes through in the text, and Colón’s illustrations bring him to life in warm, evocative tones. Additionally, a timeline is provided at the end of the book that gives older readers more concrete information about important dates and events in Seeger’s life. Overall, this is a delightful and beautiful beginner’s resource on the life and work of Pete Seeger.