Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing

Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing. Nancy Churnin. Illustrated by James Rey Sanchez. 2018. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Irving stood on tiptoe to see over the rail. Behind him, too far to glimpse, was Russia where angry Cossacks had burned his family's home to ashes. Ahead was America. What would they find there?

Premise/plot: Nancy Churnin has written a picture book biography of songwriter Irving Berlin. She begins his story with his family's journey to America. He was five. Life in the new country was hard--strange--but Berlin loved it. The picture book focuses on his early years: how he got started writing songs, how he got into the music business, his most popular songs. But the book specifically highlights his writing "God Bless America."

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I found it informative and compelling. I didn't realize how little I knew about his personal life until I read this one. I think we all tend to take certain songs for granted without really thinking about why/how they were written, without thinking about the songwriters behind them. It's a book worth reading.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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