Some books talk about freedom and harmony; Freedom We Sing allows you to feel these qualities in the depths of your cells and the heights of your awareness. The book opens with the words "Families of stars surround me, every constellation humming a different melody," and illustrator Molly Mendoza makes clear that this reference is both immediate and cosmic. A joyful child sits in the lap of a mother, tenderly cuddling as they look together at family snapshots — the family's "stars" — while next to them a child-sized telescope faces out the window toward the heavens.
Punctuated with page spreads that remind you to inhale and exhale, the book's poetry and pictures follow a free-flowing story thread rooted in the love these two have for each other, dancing and swaying and breathing together. It's a love that allows the mother to share her understanding of life. She tells of children just like her child, with beating hearts and
"With different skin colors
Hair, languages, and interests
They learn to walk and talk
And dance and scream
"Just like me
And the pair's mutual love allows the child to ask vital questions, like
"Does Freedom run through our veins?"
Into this atmosphere of love and trust between mother and child, even the issue of those who are fleeing war can be raised, as the mother speaks of mothers "with their hearts like ours" do "everything they can to protect their children and their breath." The illustration accompanying these words is breathtaking in its fierce beauty, as mothers of many nationalities, colorful and strong, shepherd their children through streaks of blue and orange, evocative of water and flames, toward a life of freedom.
And the expansiveness of the universe can be embraced in this freedom, too, which recognizes that:
"The sky is our equality
It unites us with the world
And our ancestry."
You can already tell that any description of Freedom, We Sing pales compared to the exuberance of the book itself. And you will recognize how timely this book is, even beyond the 3 - 7 year old niche for which it was written. It received a special endorsement by Amnesty International "for reminding us that we are all born free and equal."