Sweet Land of Liberty
This inspiring story of little-known civil rights champion Oscar Chapman reminds readers that one person can truly make a difference.
On Easter Sunday 1939, Marian Anderson performed at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial for a crowd of over 75,000 people. The person largely responsible for putting her there was a white man, Oscar Chapman. When Chapman learned that Marian Anderson was not allowed to sing at Constitution Hall because of the color of her skin, Chapman helped produce a landmark concert that―for at least one evening―bridged the color divide to bring a city and much of the nation together.
Award-winning author Deborah Hopkinson tells the inspirational story of Oscar Chapman’s lifelong commitment to ending bigotry. Illustrator Leonard Jenkins’s remarkable illustrations recreate a bygone era and pay tribute to remarkable real-life people and a magical moment in modern history. An author’s note provides additional historical context.
Publication Date: 3/1/2007
Page Count: 32
Size: 11-1/4″ x 9-3/4″
Age Range: 6 – 10
F&P: GRL Q, Gr 4, Genre HF
Themes: African-American History, Civil Rights, Marian Anderson
“Jenkins’s mixed-media illustrations are freighted with emotion, unnatural colors and skewed angles underlining the tumult of feelings surrounding the events, scribbles of colored chalk making the connection between Chapman the impassioned schoolboy and Chapman the righteous man…it brings deserved attention to Chapman and underscores the very worthwhile message that one does not need to be a star to make a difference.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Jenkins’ powerful, bright, mixed-media collages show and tell the connections, past, present, and future, as the politician remembers his childhood experience and his works for civil rights.” ―Booklist
“Hopkinson’s (Sky Boys) accessible, conversational narrative relays the little-known story of Oscar Chapman… Featuring bright swirling pastel patterns against deep blues and browns, Jenkins’s (Langston’s Train Ride) collage-like mixed-media illustrations deftly dramatize this illuminating and inspirational behind-the-scenes look at a triumphant moment in the civil rights movement.” ―Publishers Weekly
Best Children’s Books of the Year (Starred) –Bank Street College of Education, 2008
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People –National Council for the Social Studies, Children’s Book Council, 2008
Teachers’ Choices (Intermediate) –International Reading Association, 2008
Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Honor Book, Social Studies, Grades K-6) –Society of School Librarians International, 2007
Children’s Books: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing –New York Public Library, 2007
Macy’s Multicultural Collection of Children’s Literature –Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), 2008
Outstanding Book Award (Honorable Mention) –The Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, 2007
Children’s Crown Award (Nominee) –National Christian School Association, 2009-2010
Read Alouds too Good to Miss (Intermediate) –AIME, 2009
Storytelling World Resource Awards (Winner, Stories for Adolescent Listeners) –Storytelling World, 2008
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Meet the Author
Deborah Hopkinson is the award-winning author of numerous critically acclaimed picture and chapter books, including Keep On!; Sweet Land of Liberty; Under the Quilt of Night; and Shutting Out the Sky: Life in the Tenements of New York 1880-1924. She lives in Oregon. You can visit her website here.
Meet the Illustrator
Leonard Jenkins has illustrated many books, including Sweet Land of Liberty, Champions on the Bench: The Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars; The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela; and Langston’s Train Ride. He lives in New York.