I don’t think I’ve sung a picture book since Iza Trapani’s Itsy Bitsy Spider, but I found myself singing page after page of this wonderful picture book. Murphy traces America’s civil rights debates since colonial times by showing how the lyrics to “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” have been changed over and over to address new challenges to equality and justice.

This book is a great example of a thesis-driven argument. It’s great analytical writing, and it’s a wonderful, engaging, inspiring story. Plus you can sing your way through the book!

Murphy’s back matter is excellent. In her source notes she writes a paragraph about each spread in the book, giving her sources and interesting tidbits that didn’t make their way into the main text of the book.

My Country, ‘Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights by Claire Rudolf Murphy, illustrations by Bryan Collier. Holt: 2014.