Freedom, We Sing

Freedom, We Sing
Amyra León and Molly Mendoza
Flying Eye Books

Here’s an enormously powerful and empowering picture book that will surely motivate children to think deeply about freedom and what it means to be free.

The author is an activist whose work focuses on Black liberation and communal healing – ‘the art of listening and honest conversation are the primary tools for lasting change’ says her biographical paragraph inside the book’s cover.
(To that end, I can’t help but recall the wonderful recent channel 4 programmes The School That Tried to End Racism.)

As well as hope, the author’s story, which takes the form of a dynamic conversation between a mother and her small child as they talk about life and the world around them, is an embodiment of determination, wonder …

and mindfulness.

The two look at family photos, reflecting on the love between those close to us making the world seem small and safe; then move outwards to encompass others living under the same sky whose lives might appear different on the surface, some of whose lives are difficult, perhaps due to war or oppression; but nonetheless whose hearts beat like their own and whose parents will do their upmost to keep their children safe from harm.

The child cogitates on the very nature of freedom

before the mother states “Breath is freedom/ A sweet release / The right to be / A universal sign / Of life and peace”.

Both reflecting and radiating the feelings and emotions of the text, so stunning are Molly Mendoza’s richly coloured illustrations that they really take your breath away.

With all that’s been happening in the world recently it’s more important than ever to start sharing, pondering upon and talking about books such as this one with young children. Where better to start than here? …

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