Author: Katharine Lee Bates; Illustrator:
From his unique perspective as the great-great-grandnephew
of Katharine Lee Bates, the woman who wrote "America
the Beautiful," Gall transforms this
symbol of American strength and beauty — from "purple
mountain majesties" to gleaming "alabaster
cities"— into monumental works
Honoring his ancestry and expressing his
national pride, Gall enhances these lyrics
with historical and contemporary imagery as
diverse as Sacagawea's travels with Lewis
and Clark, the Tuskegee Airmen, and firefighters
raising the American flag at Ground Zero.
Musical notation and an author's note, as
well as the song's words written in Bates's
own hand, are also included in this book for
children of all ages.
|From Publishers Weekly
In his first picture book, Gall offers an innovative interpretation of
this classic paean to our blossoming country, penned in 1893 by his great-great-great-aunt.
Finding his own inspiration in this legacy (a copy of the lyrics reproduced
on the book's endpapers hung in his childhood home), this skilled artist
creates striking, boldly hued graphics by hand engraving clay-coated board
and then digitizing with Adobe illustrator. Gall blends primitive and
sophisticated elements to convey a three-dimensional look. His artwork
celebrates the diverse contributions of all Americans. For the refrain, "From
sea to shining sea," he depicts Sacajawea and her son traveling the
Missouri River with Lewis and Clark in 1805; members of the first African-American
flying unit, known as the Tuskegee Airmen, surround their WWII plane for "O
beautiful for heroes proved/ In liberating strife." He also includes
more recent images, such as the firemen of 9/11 hoisting the flag at Ground
Zero for "Who more than self their country loved/ And mercy more
than life!" In rural, family scenes, a couple rides a tractor through "amber
waves of grain" in the 1930s, and parents and child survey the "purple
mountain majesty" of Pike's Peak. This affecting composite portrait
of the country Bates so eloquently serenaded provides a spirit-lifting
accompaniment to her rousing lyrics. All ages.
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