January 18, 2022
Canada celebrates Black History Month in February and Change Sings offers a timely reminder to embody the change we want to see in the world. In this picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, a young girl inspires other children to take small steps towards making a big difference in their neighbourhood.
The girl and her newfound companions model several examples of small actions a child (or anyone for that matter) could take to support various causes: cleaning up a park (environmental activism), feeding a homeless family (food justice), building a ramp (disability equality), and delivering groceries to an elderly woman (gender justice).
The book underscores that small acts in your daily life can have a big impact in supporting the wider community. There are also nuanced references to current events such as “Take a knee to make a stand” echoing the actions of African American football player Colin Kaepernick who took a knee during the national anthem before a match in 2016. Kaepernick said he could not stand to show pride in the flag of a country that oppressed black people.
The rhyming couplets are uplifting, the spreads alternate between placing figures against white backgrounds and displaying a two-page scene, and the girl hands each new person an instrument to take up the song. The story culminates in the creation of a colourful and inclusive community mural “We are the change.”
Amanda Gorman’s beautiful children’s anthem asks you to answer the call to celebrate diversity. As she puts it, “I also walk our differences, to show we are the same.” Look within, and follow your heart to lean into what you can do to support others.