She Sang for the Mountains: The Story of Singer, Songwriter, Activist Jean Ritchie Trade Book (Hardcover)

Written By Shannon Hitchcock
Illustrated by Sophie Page
Critically Reviewed
This lyrical picture book biography of songwriter and activist Jean Ritchie-Singer traces her life from the Cumberland Mountains of Kentucky to New York City and beyond as her protest songs inspired a nation. The author and illustrator previously teamed up for the stunning biography Saving Granddaddy’s Stories: Ray Hicks, the Voice of Appalachia.
SKU WW-NL6030
ISBN 9781478874072
Series Reycraft Books
Number Level 38
SKU WW-NL6030
ISBN 9781478874072
Series Reycraft Books
Number Level 38
Lexile level 820L
Letter Level P
Genre Biography
Language English
Theme Biography
BISAC Subject Headings Juvenile Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / Women
Juvenile Nonfiction / Science & Nature / Environmental Conservation & Protection
Juvenile Nonfiction / Social Activism & Volunteering
Juvenile Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / Women
Juvenile Nonfiction / Science & Nature / Environmental Conservation & Protection
Juvenile Nonfiction / Social Activism & Volunteering
Price $17.95
Author & Illustrator

Shannon Hitchcock

Shannon Hitchcock was born in North Carolina and grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is the author of four Middle Grade novels, Flying Over Water, One True Way, Ruby Lee & Me, and The Ballad of Jessie Pearl. Her books have been featured on many state awards lists and have received acclaimed reviews. Saving Granddaddy’s Stories is Shannon’s debut picture book. She recently moved to Asheville, North Carolina where she can see the mountains every day. 

Sophie Page

Sophie Page is a mixed media illustrator originally from Conway, MA and a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She crafts images in two and three dimensions to tell stories for all ages. The illustrations in this book are made from clay, paper, fabric, wire, and a handful of Jack’s magic beans.

Reviews

Jean Ritchie (1922–2015), a singer who sang generationally inherited ballads and heard music everywhere, is centered in this preservationist profile. After an idyllic, isolated musical childhood in Kentucky’s Cumberland Mountains with her parents and 13 siblings, the pale-skinned blonde relocates to New York City with a dulcimer in hand, becoming a music teacher. Introduced to folk singers cum protestors—sketched portraits bear the names of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Carl Sandburg, and Doc Watson—by a Library of Congress song collector, Ritchie takes up protest songwriting to oppose coal mining. Hitchcock uses gently melodious, alliterative prose: “Rumbling cars replaced rambling walks. The roar of radios replaced the strum of strings.” Earthy, dimensional collage art by Page underlines the story’s themes with its organic, handmade feel. A hearty portrait of the “Mother of Folk,” emphasizing the belief that music can create change. 

—Publishers Weekly

Hitchcock and Page bring to life Jean Ritchie’s musical legacy. The folk singer’s life is traced from her early days in Cumberland, KY, to New York City, to her return home in her later years. She began as a music teacher and went on to be a protest anthem writer and an inspiration to many folk musicians who are now household names, e.g., Bob Dylan, who had to settle in court over using one of her songs. The illustrations leap off the page with characters that will remind older readers of stop-motion animation, here set against collage backgrounds. In stark scenes, children will also learn about the art of protest songs and Ritchie’s own work against strip mining. A great addition to existing literature on climate change, this biography adds the subject to the rich list of activists explored in today’s literature. Ritchie’s words are featured throughout; the eccentric art fits the atmosphere of Ritchie’s life and the heart of the book perfectly. VERDICT Include this Appalachian biography to strengthen nonfiction shelves and introduce readers to a woman they may never encounter otherwise.

—School Library Journal Reviewer

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